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C4’s Hay welcomed into ITVS’s Garden

ITV Studios-owned prodco The Garden has appointed the specialist factual boss at Channel 4 as its creative chief as the exodus from the UK commercial pubcaster continues.

John Hay

John Hay will take the new role of chief creative officer (CCO) at The Garden next year and will work with CEO Magnus Temple and MD Scarlett Ewens to expand the business.

Hay’s appointment, first reported by UK trade Broadcast, follows the exit of joint CEO Nick Curwin who left The Garden earlier this year.

That move saw Temple taking sole charge at the prodco, which he launched with Curwin in 2010 and subsequently sold to ITV for £18m (US$27.4m) in 2013.

Curwin stepped away from day-to-day management of the company, which is known for its formats 24 Hours in A&E and 24 Hours in Police Custody, but retained a place on the board.

Ewens, meanwhile, had her contract extended and was upped to MD and chief operating officer, with more autonomy over business affairs, finance and the international side of the business.

The arrival of Hay is part of a wider rejig that has seen Nicola Hill, who was head of production, promoted to director of production, and Kate Collier, who exec produced key Garden titles, become creative director.

Zac Beattie and Emma Tutty will jointly work as head of documentaries and Spencer Kelly will be head of factual. Chloë Solomon, who is currently head of factual formats, will become head of popular factual.

Temple said: “I’m feeling very ambitious for The Garden and have thought carefully about how to grow the company whilst ensuring we stay true to our DNA. These are richly deserved promotions, but they also give our talented team more ownership and autonomy over specific areas of the company, which in turn should extend and expand what we can do.

“The final piece of the puzzle is John. I’ve been a massive admirer of him as a commissioner. Not only is he a brilliant creative, manager and strategist, but I think his ethos and ambitions are perfectly aligned with those of The Garden.”

Hay, who has held his current role at C4 since May last year, has been at the broadcaster for five years with credits including SAS: Who Dares Wins and Walking the Nile to his name.

It is the latest exit from C4 this year, following those of CEO David Abraham, CCO Jay Hunt, deputy head of features Alex Menzies and head of C4’s indie growth fund Laura Franses.

Former Shine Group CEO Alex Mahon has been appointed to succeed Abraham but the search for Hunt’s successor is ongoing.

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