UKTV announced that Darren Childs has decided to step down from his role as CEO. Childs’ name has been mentioned in connection with the role of chief executive at the English Premier League, following the withdrawal of Discovery Communications executive Susanna Dinnage, who had been appointed to replace Richard Scudamore. He leaves as it seems certain the BBC is poised to takeover the Discovery / BBC JV.
During the eight years he led UKTV, the company has grown its commercial share of viewing by 42 per cent, driven a 66 per cent increase in revenue, and nearly tripled profits. Childs has strengthened UKTV’s vibrant portfolio of brands including Dave, Drama and Really, three of the most popular non-PSB channels in Britain. During his tenure, the company also launched UKTV Play, its direct to consumer VoD service and fastest growing brand with two million registered users. The network reaches 40 million people every month.
UKTV under Childs’ leadership has become a significant investor in British creativity, with a host of genre-defining and award-winning UKTV Originals, including Taskmaster, Dynamo: Magician Impossible and large scale live events including Monty Python Live: One Down Five To Go and David Haye Boxing, which drew some of the network’s highest rating audiences. The catalogue of UKTV Originals has earned a host of wins and nominations from International Emmy, BAFTA, Royal Television Society, National Television Awards, Rose D’Or and the Broadcast Awards.
Childs’ emphasis on developing talent and creating a positive working culture was reflected in the company becoming the first ever television broadcaster to be featured in The Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For list.
“It’s been the greatest honour to work with this fantastically talented group of people,” declared Childs. “I’m incredibly proud of what this team has created, and the successes they’ve built: growing audiences, working with our producer partners to create a collection of award-winning programmes; and making bold entertainment brands that stand out from the crowd. We’ve created a huge amount of value and had a lot of fun. I want to give my sincere thanks and appreciation for the support the team has given me and look forward to continuing to work with our group over the coming months to ensure I pass the baton in a seamless fashion. I wish the company every success for the future.”
“Darren is a fantastic executive who has helped build market leading brands and content, and a terrific team during his tenure at UKTV,” stated JB Perrette, UKTV Board member and President & CEO Discovery International. “He has made an invaluable contribution to the business and on behalf of Discovery and the UKTV Board, I want to thank him for his commitment, creativity and resourcefulness at the helm of UKTV.”
“Darren deserves our thanks for his many achievements in eight years as an excellent CEO of UKTV,” added Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Studios, himself mentioned as a potential replacement for Scudamore before reportedly declining the opportunity. “His leadership of the company has created significant value for UKTV’s shareholders: overseeing a vibrant portfolio of channel brands, bringing in successful new commissions complementary to UKTV’s BBC content, and delivering consistently strong impacts and financial performance. He will leave UKTV in extremely good health, with a great team at all levels and he will take our very best wishes this summer for his own next move.”