Byrne has been in the post for more than 15 years, overseeing ITN-produced Channel 4 News and current affairs documentaries such as For Sama, which won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar.
In her new role as editor at large, Byrne will spend the next 12 months helping develop Channel 4’s podcast strategy, as well as implementing a sustainability plan and mentoring staff. She will no longer be an active commissioner.
Channel 4’s director of programs Ian Katz said: “No British media executive has done as much to shape the coverage of news and current affairs on television as Dorothy.
“Over more than 15 years she has been the restless force behind agenda setting Channel 4 programming from the exposing of war crimes in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, to the recent laying bare of Michael Jackson’s child sexual abuse. She has a laser-like eye for a story, huge creative flair and Channel 4 DNA running through her like rock.”
Byrne added: “It’s the perfect time for me to step aside and give someone else the pleasure of the best job in television. I will continue to contribute to the creative life of the channel.”
Byrne gave the British television industry a memorable MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International TV Festival last year, during which she rounded on the Murdochs, Netflix and British prime minister Boris Johnson.