Channel 4's Andy Duncan 'ready to quit'

By Andrew Laughlin, Technology Reporter

Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan is expected to quit his post before the end of the year, leaving the broadcaster without a leader during current tough conditions.

According to The Guardian, Duncan has already negotiated the principle conditions of his departure, which sources close to the situation believe may happen "soon". The sources also indicate that the decision was "mutual" and agreed before the summer.

However, the move may or may not hinge on negotiations between the broadcaster and Sky over an advertising airtime sales partnership.
There are also no indication whether Duncan has already secured another post in the industry, although it has been noted that Ofcom is about to start searching for a new chairman to replace the outgoing Luke Johnson.
In a lecture delivered over the weekend at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Duncan sidestepped all questions over his future.

"To be honest, there is nothing to add. It is rumour, speculation and gossip, it is Edinburgh," he said. "There has been rumour and speculation for the last five years. There is nothing to tell, there has been no board meeting and no vote of no confidence."
Channel 4 is currently going through some troubling times, particularly in regards to its financial position, including reports that it could face a £150m funding shortfall by 2012.

Problems were compounded in June when the government's Digital Britain report did not include any firm funding proposals to help the broadcaster beyond support for its proposed partnership with BBC Worldwide.
In the middle of last month, it was reported that the joint venture deal between the BBC's commercial arm and Channel 4 could be agreed within weeks, but this has yet to materialise.

The link up with Sky aims to pool both firms' advertising infrastructure to more effectively compete with the revenue-generating power of ITV. However, as this joint operation would potentially account for 30% of the domestic TV advertising market, it would likely attract the attention of competition regulators.

A merger between Channel 4 and Five is also thought to still be a possibility, but the broadcaster indicated in April that it would prefer to make cuts to its output rather than merge with Five.