After eight years in the role, UKTV’s Chief Executive Officer Darren Childs is exiting the company. He will officially step down on July 1st. UKTV said that, while Childs remains in post, the board will explore new leadership options for the next phase of the company’s growth.
During his tenure as CEO, UKTV transformed from a collection of repeat channels to a broadcaster committed to commissioning originals and carrying numerous exclusive acquisitions. The result was increasing UKTV’s SOCI by 42%, revenue by 66% and nearly tripling profits. Alongside the commissioning drive, under Childs they also launched VOD service UKTV Play. UKTV now has over 100 titles currently in production.
Childs decision to exit comes at a critical time for UKTV. For the past few months there have been persistent rumours about the future of the company; namely that as the result of Discovery buying original UKTV co-owner Scripps, and fellow co-owner BBC Studios not having the financial flexibility to assume full control, a breakup of the multichannel broadcaster was in the works. UKTV has thus far not publicly commented on the rumours, but The Guardian reported today that BBC Studios are eyeing a deal to retain 7 of UKTV’s 10 channels.
“Darren is a fantastic executive who has helped build market leading brands and content, and a terrific team during his tenure at UKTV”, said JB Perrette, UKTV Board member and President & CEO of 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. 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”, commented BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie. “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.”
While Childs added: “It’s been the greatest honour to work with this fantastically talented group of people, 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.”