UK terrestrial Channel 5 must start the search for a new head of programmes after Jeff Ford announced he is stepping down from the position after two years.
Ford joined the broadcaster at its launch in 1997 and was one of the few executives to stay onboard following its acquisition by Richard Desmond’s media company Northern and Shell in July 2010.
Following Richard Woolfe’s departure at that time, Ford was promoted from his role as director of digital channels to his current position.
However, he will now step down on December 1, though he will remain at Channel 5 in an advisory capacity.
Under Ford’s control, Channel 5 has seen a dramatic rise in original content with an increased budget of £100m (US$160m), up 23% from 2010. In particular, he was responsible for bringing Endemol format Big Brother to the network after it was dropped by Channel 4 and has also picked up a slate of US acquisitions, including Dallas and forthcoming period miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.
Ford said: “Since the acquisition of the channel by Northern and Shell in 2010, Channel 5 has once again found its voice. I am leaving the brand in a far better place with programmes that viewers talk about and truly engage with.
“I am proud that we are the only commercial family of channels to have grown our audience share year-on-year and that we have also increased audiences for the main channel across the key demographics including 16-34s and ABC1s.”