Ian Katz, currently Editor of Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship daily news and current affairs programme, has been appointed Director of Programmes by UK Commercial public service broadcaster, a surprise move given his relative inexperience in the TV industry, having only been in his post since 2013 following previous roles in the newspaper industry.
Katz, previously Deputy Editor of UK daily, The Guardian replaces Jay Hunt, who chose to leave the broadcaster having lost out to Alex Mahon in winning the CEO role. Hunt was recently appointed as the European creative director for Apple’s international TV division. Katz’s name had only recently been suggested as a possible contender for the role.
“Ian is an inspirational leader who assiduously builds and nurtures talented and empowered teams,” commented Mahon. “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.”
“I’m impossibly excited to be joining a broadcaster whose unique combination of innovation, risk-taking and élan I have admired for decades as a viewer – and more recently as a frequently envious rival,” added Katz. “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.”
Katz will join Channel 4 in January 2018. He succeeds Ralph Lee who has been Interim Chief Creative Officer since the departure of Jay Hunt in September 2017, and who has agreed to stay on in post until the end of the year.
Since 2013, Katz has been Editor of BBC Newsnight, where his successes include: the RTS Scoop of the Year winning investigation into Kids Company that led to its closure, a series of revelations about bullying within the Conservative party and, most recently, a widely-praised ongoing investigation into the causes and handling of the Grenfell disaster.
He has brought key talent to the BBC, including: Laura Kuenssberg from ITV, Chris Cook from the FT and Katie Razzall and Rachel Jupp, now editor of Panorama, from Channel 4 News. He has also developed new on air talent including the BBC’s Islamabad correspondent, Secunder Kermani, and promoted BBC journalists including Emily Maitlis, Gabriel Gatehouse and Evan Davis.
He has shown a commitment to featuring a diverse range of opinions, launching the admired Viewsnight strand which has showcased voices from Richard Dawkins to Kehinde Andrews, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Lionel Shriver.
Prior to the BBC, Katz worked for The Guardian in a wide variety of roles culminating in Deputy Editor and Head of News, from 2008-2013, when he oversaw the Wikileaks and phone hacking investigations, as well as leading The Guardian’s strategy to become a global leader on environment coverage.
From 1997-1998 he was responsible for developing The Guardian’s first website and he played a central role in The Guardian’s digital development over the subsequent 15 years.