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Revealed: Channel 4 Bosses To Accept Bonuses In 2024 As Hundreds Of Staffers Laid Off

EXCLUSIVE: Channel 4 bosses will take home reduced bonuses in 2024 as 250 staffers are laid off.

Deadline can reveal that the vast majority of Channel 4 staff will receive a bonus this year around half the level of 2023, including CEO Alex Mahon, content boss Ian Katz and Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Allan. The trio will see their pay reduced by around 30% to 40% from last year’s record highs, we are also told.

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The decision on bonuses was recently rubberstamped by the network’s Remuneration Committee and a Channel 4 spokesman told Deadline the bonus was calculated from the network’s “annual targets, remit and business goals.” This decision to award them bonuses was made in the past few weeks as the redundancy program has been in full flow – the biggest such program initiated by the broadcaster for 15 years.

Senior bosses’ separate six-figure loyalty bonuses, which Deadline revealed had been indefinitely deferred last year amidst a revolt from producers, are still under discussion.

The Channel 4 spokesman said this summer’s annual report will “show a 30 to 40% reduction” in pay for Mahon, Katz and Allan.

For Mahon and Katz, who are overseeing the 250-person layoff program, this will mean a salary fall from last year’s record highs to a minimum of around £900,000 ($1.1M) for the former and £507,000 for the latter, roughly in line with what they received in 2020. Mahon’s total pay packet could still, however, top £1M depending on the level of reduction. Last year, Mahon became Channel 4’s most paid CEO in history after her take-home pay shot up by 25% to £1.5M.

Staffers “shocked”

While bosses’ bonuses and pay packets are shrinking, the decision has somewhat inevitably led to criticism from producers amidst a grueling redundancy program that is seeing staff numbers reduced by around 16%.

One insider characterized staffers’ mood as “shocked” that bosses would take any bonus at all in the current climate.

Another said it feels like leaders at the Gogglebox network “live in a bubble,” with a lack of understanding over the optics behind these decisions.

The Channel 4 spokesman said the broadcaster “has to attract and retain high-calibre employees in a competitive market” but sources questioned bonuses being paid out on 2023’s performance – a far less fruitful year than 2022 that at times saw Channel 4’s relations with producers hit all-time lows. Numerous suppliers felt they had been asked to suck up some of the financial pain, which had fuelled anger over executive salaries, and this could continue into 2024.

Interviews for new head of department positions have been taking place over the past couple of weeks as the layoffs program rumbles on.

The likes of E4 head Karl Warner and factual entertainment chief Alf Lawrie have both confirmed their exits and drama boss Caroline Hollick is expected to leave imminently as Channel 4’s weighty commissioning teams are slimmed down and newly-merged departments are forged.

Deadline is told that Channel 4 bosses are planning an away day around late April time to detail next steps once interviews are done and dusted.

The 40-year-old broadcaster has already published a Fast Forward blueprint with plans to sell its London Horseferry Road premises and focus on three pillars: digital growth and transformation, diversifying new business and “reengineering the business for a digital-first world.” The network has also been keen to show it is still commissioning. In recent weeks it has revealed greenlights for high-profile documentaries including a landmark British Asian series presented by Oscar-nominee Riz Ahmed and a show about the Serpent serial killer.

Channel 4 CEO Mahon was at the Oscars last weekend alongside Film4 boss Ollie Madden, celebrating wins for Poor Things and Zone of Interest in what has been a strong year for the movie division.

The Channel 4 spokesman said: “Channel 4 is entirely commercially funded and makes sustainable financial decisions to support the delivery of its remit and boost the UK creative industries. It also has to attract and retain high-calibre employees in a competitive market.

“After careful and considered evaluation, Channel 4’s Remuneration Committee recommended that the Corporate Variable Pay Scheme be paid at half of the maximum opportunity for eligible employees. The award was calculated from Channel 4’s annual targets, remit and business goals.

“Channel 4’s annual report – published later this year – will show a 30 to 40% reduction in total remuneration awarded to Executive Members in 2023, compared to 2022. As usual, Channel 4 will share detailed information on executive pay in the annual report.”

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