Channel 4 recruits PHD boss Verica Djurdjevic for chief revenue officer role

She will succeed recently promoted Jonathan Allan in a new position leading the broadcaster's commercial team.

Djurdjevic: leaving PHD after 11 years, including three as CEO
Djurdjevic: leaving PHD after 11 years, including three as CEO

Channel 4 has appointed Veriça Djurdjevic, chief executive of PHD UK, to become the broadcaster’s new chief revenue officer.

Djurdjevic, who has been at the helm of PHD UK since 2017, during an 11-year stint at the Omnicom media agency, will join Channel 4 in the newly created role in November. 

She succeeds Jonathan Allan as the company’s sales chief. Allan led the revenue and sales business for Channel 4 for more than eight years before being appointed chief operating officer in January. 

Djurdjevic will have overall responsibility for all of Channel 4’s key commercial revenue streams, with a particular focus on diversifying and growing new revenues across non-linear TV, as audiences consume content in different ways. She will be part of the Channel 4 executive team and lead the channel’s commercial team.

Channel 4 has had a tough time during coronavirus as it warned revenues fell about 50% in April and May and the TV market continues to suffer, with forecasts suggesting it was down around 20% during the summer.

Alex Mahon, Channel 4's chief executive  said: “Veriça has an incredibly impressive track record within the agency world, but more than that, she is a passionate and creative leader of people. I’m delighted to have secured someone of her calibre to join our executive team at a such a crucial time.”

Matt Salmon will continue as interim sales director and hand over to Djurdjevic when she arrives, having taken on chief sales responsibilities just as the UK media market suffered a massive shock due to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Mahon paid tribute to the “outstanding job” Salmon has done this year during an “incredibly challenging period”.

During her time running PHD, the agency won a Sainsbury's Group consolidation, after a bruising appeal against M/SIX, and added other big, global brands such as HSBC and Diageo. PHD Manchester also expanded, by winning Stars Group - useful experience as Channel 4 expands outside London.

Djurdjevic started her career at MediaVest (now Starcom) before moving to MEC (now Wavemaker) in 2002. She worked in both the account management and strategy teams across a wide spectrum of clients during her time at MEC, moving to PHD UK in 2009 to run the Sainsbury’s business. She became managing director in 2013 and was promoted to chief executive in 2017.

Djurdjevic said: “I am incredibly excited to be joining Channel 4 at such a pivotal moment. The market and consumers are changing, and Channel 4 is extremely well positioned to capitalise on the new opportunities presented by the changing landscape. I look forward to working with the team, and with advertisers and partners to create new and different ways of engaging audiences.” 

She added: “It’s taken an amazing opportunity to lure me away.  When you’ve been the CEO of PHD, you don’t leave to join another media agency.”

PHD, part of Omnicom Media Group, will now look for a new chief executive to succeed Djurdjevic. 

Dan Clays, chief executive of OMG UK, told Campaign that Djurdjevic had made an “incredible impact” in her time at the agency and been “outstanding” as chief executive. 

He added: “As CEO, she has led PHD UK through a period of significant growth and departs with the agency in excellent shape and in contention – once again - for Media Week’s Media Agency of the Year.”

“We wish her every success at Channel 4, a brand and business we know and admire very much. She’ll be a great success and we look forward to working with V in her new role.”

Channel 4 is also an Omnicom client as it uses OMD UK, a stablemate of PHD UK, as its media agency.

Channel 4's sales house had close to £1.2bn in annual billings before the coronavirus slump.

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