Channel 4 dismisses two former company leaders following their support for privatisation

Lord Grade was CEO of Channel 4 for ten years until 1997 and has said it could become a 'media powerhouse' in private hands

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The Independent Online

The CEO of Channel 4 has dismissed two of the organisation's former leaders, Lord Grade and Luke Johnson, as the "flip and flop of British broadcasting", following their support for privatisation of the commercially-funded public broadcaster.

David Abraham mocked Lord Grade, a former chairman of both the BBC and ITV, for his past record in the industry.

Lord Grade was CEO of Channel 4 for ten years until 1997 and has said it could become a "media powerhouse" in private hands.

Mr Abraham said: "Michael did a good job at Channel 4 but success in building 'powerhouses' has not exactly trailed him since.

Addressing the Media & Telecoms 2016 & Beyond conference in London, he said: "I think we can draw a lesson from Michael's career which he seems to be missing. And that is true even if we disregard the fact that he changes his mind on this issue more often than he changes his socks."

The Government is reviewing the broadcaster's future and considering options including full privatisation, and allowing a degree of private investment.

Arguing strongly that Channel 4 is "in a strong place" and should be allowed to continue to operate on its existing model, Mr Abraham noted that Mr Johnson, when he was chairman of the broadcaster, was known to "get out the begging bowl and ask for cash from the BBC or directly from the taxpayer".

He added: "That move, away from self-sufficiency, is even less politically plausible today than it was back then."

Claiming that "the model is working", he told the two critics to "stop worrying" and pointedly advised Lord Grade to enjoy his C4 pension. "Luke's inability to stick to one line and Michael's many changing positions over the years, have made them the flip and flop of British broadcasting,"he said.