A senior figure in the UK industry, Webb-Lamb said it was time for “new adventures” after working hand-in-glove with Channel 4’s content chief Ian Katz for the past three years of her tenure, overseeing shows including The Great British Bake Off, Gogglebox, and The Circle.
Channel 4 said she leaves this summer with the broadcaster in good health, having helped the main network increase its share of viewing 3% last year. Streaming on All 4 also grew 31% in 2020, as people watched more online during the pandemic.
Her departure comes at a time of structural change at Channel 4, however. The company is going to significantly increase the emphasis on All 4 over the coming years, reshaping its commissioning strategy to prioritize the streaming service over linear channels. The hope is that this will help double Channel 4’s digital sales to make up 30% of its £1 billion ($1.4B) in total revenues.
Channel 4 did not say whether Webb-Lamb will be replaced, meaning her role could be retired as part of the wider overhaul. Katz will make a decision once Webb-Lamb leaves in the coming months.
Webb-Lamb said: “Channel 4 is a very special place; quite possibly the most special place in the industry. There’s nowhere I’ve worked where your staff-pass says freedom, creativity and risk quite as loudly. It is therefore very hard to leave. But after five years and a whole load of change, the channel is now in a really strong place creatively, and I am super proud of what we’ve achieved.
“So it’s a good time for me to take the leap and say goodbye – new adventures are beckoning. I will miss my colleagues painfully much – even though I haven’t seen most of them in person for almost a year – they are the best commissioning team you could ever hope for. But I’ll be around for a good while yet. On Zoom, at least…”
Katz added: “Kelly has played a huge part in shaping Channel 4 over the last five years and been a wise, generous and creatively inspiring partner for the last three. She is one of the most formidable people I’ve ever worked with, as mischievous as she is ferociously clever and passionate about what Channel 4 can and should be. She has a remarkable ability to make any show better, whatever the genre.”
Webb-Lamb, who joined Channel 4 from Banijay-owed Shine TV, is the second senior commissioner to leave the broadcaster since the turn of the year. Sean Doyle, deputy head of features and formats, is heading to Disney+ to become its point-person for unscripted producers in Europe and Africa.