Channel 4's new chief executive David Abraham

By Stephen Pollard
January 22, 2010

I thought I’d share my encounter with David Abraham, C4's new chief executive, with you.

A few years ago, when I was working on the Express, we held an awayday for execs. We’d just appointed Mr Abraham’s then company, the ever-so-trendy St Luke’s, as our ad agency. (I’ll leave for another time the unspeakably bad, beyond mere embarrassing ads they came up with for us).

So the editor thought it would be useful to ask them along to the awayday.

It didn’t start auspiciously. Mr Abraham’s partner, Andy Law, started the day with a pep talk for us, telling the 20 or so tabloid hacks that ‘cynicism is a forest fire in a workplace’ and that instead of being cynical and questioning we should embrace the world around us with cheer and good spirit. This to a room full of people whose livelihood was based on digging into stories, questioning what people say and finding out what lies people come up with.

At dinner, I found myself seated next to Mr Abraham. However bad my impression of him was – he seemed to embody every ad exec caricature I’d come across – I thought I should indeed not be so cynical, and instead should relish the chance to converse with the man who founded the most of-the-moment ad agency.

I began with a very dull, admittedly, but well intentioned opening conversational gambit.

“Where are your offices?” I asked him.

He looked at me with utter contempt, as if I had asked him how long his wife had been on the game.

“We don’t have offices”, he spat out in reply. “We have space”.


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