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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 09:49 GMT
Channel 4 serves up new chairman
Luke Johnson
Luke Johnson made his name running restaurants like Belgo
Entrepreneur Luke Johnson, former head of the Pizza Express restaurant chain, has been named chairman of Channel 4.

Mr Johnson, known for his restaurant and nightclub businesses, is a surprise choice after reports that ex-Coca-Cola UK head Penny Hughes would get the job.

David Currie, chairman of TV regulator Ofcom, which made the appointment, said Mr Johnson, 42, had "an outstanding commercial and strategic track record".

Mr Johnson replaces Vanni Treves with a 67,500-a-year wage for three years.

He is also chairman of Signature Restaurants, which owns the Belgo chain and the Ivy restaurant in London.

Channel 4 plays a critically important role at the heart of UK public service broadcasting
Luke Johnson
In 2000, he was seen walking out of BBC Two show Back to the Floor after working as a waiter at Belgo, telling producers to "stick your TV programme".

Mr Currie said the new chairman had "a passion for public service broadcasting and Channel 4".

"He has the ideal experience to guide the Channel 4 board as it addresses the significant challenges ahead," he said.

Mr Johnson said he was "very excited" by the chance to help guide the channel's development in the future.

"Channel 4 plays a critically important role at the heart of UK public service broadcasting, with a brilliant track record at the forefront of innovation and creativity in television," he said.

'Projector'

His appointment has been formally approved by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

He describes himself as a "projector" - which he says is a 17th Century term for a man involved in many different businesses.

He is a governor of the London Institute and writes a business column for the Sunday Telegraph titled "The Maverick".

He read medicine at Oxford University and has previously run a scenery manufacturer and been a director of English Classic Cars and the investment vehicle Intrinsic Value.


SEE ALSO:
BBC man to head Channel 4
12 Dec 01  |  Entertainment


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