BBC Newsnight editor Ian Katz moving to Channel 4 as director of programmes

BBC Newsnight editor Ian Katz has been confirmed as Channel 4’s director of programmes.

Katz will effectively replace Jay Hunt, who has stepped down as Channel 4’s chief creative officer to move to Apple’s video team, when he begins in January.

Katz said: “I’m impossibly excited to be joining a broadcaster whose unique combination of innovation, risk-taking and elan I have admired for decades as a viewer – and more recently as a frequently envious rival.

“Channel 4’s deeply held values and relentlessly challenging sensibility have never been more important or relevant and I feel incredibly privileged to play a part in shaping the next stage of its remarkable journey.”

Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s chief executive, said Katz was an “inspirational leader who assiduously builds and nurtures talented and empowered teams”.

He added: “He has fantastic instincts and intelligence, huge editorial strength and is a proven creative and digital innovator, who lives and breathes the Channel 4 values.”

Katz joined Newsnight as editor in 2013 following the departure of Peter Rippon, who left after spiking a story exposing Jimmy Savile as a serial sex abuser – a story that was later picked up by ITV.

The four-years at Newsnight is Katz’s only TV experience, having spent 23 years at the Guardian – including as deputy editor and head of news – prior to taking the BBC job.

James Harding, director of BBC News, said: “Ian has been an inspiring editor of Newsnight. He took on Newsnight when there were questions about its future and, over the past four years, he has restored its reputation for fearless journalism, for powerful film-making and for rigorous intelligence on television.

“He has brought in and brought along a great team of people on Newsnight. He has shown the confidence to make a programme that addresses the turbulent world around us with warmth and wit, curiosity and openness. Newsnight, its viewers and the BBC will miss him.”

Newsnight presenter Evan Davis tweeted following the announcement: “Fair to say that Ian Katz has made quite a mark on BBC Newsnight. He’ll be a hard act to follow, but will be great at Channel 4.”

Katz earns an annual salary of £151,600 at the BBC. Jay Hunt earned £683,000 a year including bonuses, however it is understood that Katz will be paid less than that.

Picture: BBC

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