Andy Duncan (executive)

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Andy Duncan (born 31 July 1962) was chief executive of Britain's Channel 4 television channel from July 2004 to November 2009, the first not to have a background in programme making. He was previously director of marketing, communications and audiences at the BBC and the founding chairman of Freeview. After a year running a luxury car business, he became managing director of the company that runs the UK National Lottery in October 2011.

Career in marketing[edit]

Duncan was educated at Whitgift School, an independent school in South Croydon, London, and at Manchester Institute of Technology, from which he graduated with a BSc in management sciences.

In 1984 he joined Unilever and worked his way up through the company. In 1995 Duncan was appointed Van Den Bergh Foods business unit chairman and marketing controller for spreads and margarines. He was responsible for the sponsorship of the London Marathon by one of his brands, a partnership that lasted 14 yearsFlora. He also built the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter brand.[citation needed]

In 1997 he became Van Den Bergh Foods marketing director, and between January and December 1999 he was chairman of the Tea Council. In December 1999 he became European category director for Unilever's Foods and Beverages division, responsible for over €3 billion of turnover and around 10% of the corporation's global profits.[citation needed]. He was also a member of the Unilever's global category board.


In 2001 Duncan joined the BBC as director of marketing and communications on the BBC Executive Board. In July 2003 his title changed to director of marketing, communications and audiences. He was also a member of the BBC commercial holdings board and Creative Board.

While at the BBC he was nicknamed "The Implementer" and was known for his informal style. He supervised the expansion of the corporation's digital output including the launches of BBC 3 and 4, and Cbeebies and became chairman of Freeview, which took over the UK's digital terrestrial television service after the collapse of ITV Digital. To the surprise of many, Freeview became a fast-growing brand and in twenty months reached four million homes. It is now in over 15 million homes. Duncan played a key role in the success of Freeview.[citation needed]. He was named Marketer of the Year in 2003.

On 1 July 2004 Duncan was appointed chief executive of Channel 4. He took up the job on 19 July 2004. During his time there he oversaw the company's emergence as a genuine multi-platform media business. Channel 4's share of Total UK TV viewing grew from 10% to 12% and its share of the TV advertising market increased every year to a record 25% in 2009.

Duncan presided over the Celebrity Big Brother racism débacle, which provoked a record number of 45,000 complaints to Ofcom, the UK television watchdog. Ofcom found that Channel 4 had made "serious editorial misjudgements" in its handling of incidents involving Indian actress Shilpa Shetty.[1] Labour MP Keith Vaz, who led protests in Parliament over the issue, called for Duncan to resign.[2] Duncan admitted publicly that lessons had been learnt and Channel 4 took steps to handle subsequent issues better. Under Duncan’s leadership, Channel 4 also won record numbers of creative and marketing awards including 13 Oscars.

On Wednesday 16 September 2009, it was announced that Andy Duncan was to resign from Channel 4. He left the channel on 17 November 2009[3]

Duncan has chaired the Media Trust, a communications charity, since 2006.[4] He joined the board of HMV Group plc in March 2009. He is also a trustee of Oasis Trust, the social action charity. He also advises the British Museum’s Chairman and Director General.

Duncan was CEO of H.R.Owen plc, an upmarket car business, for a year from September 2010. In October 2011 he was appointed UK managing director of Camelot Group, the operators of the British National Lottery.[5]

External links[edit]


Media offices
Preceded by
Mark Thompson
Chief Executive
of Channel 4

2004 - 2010
Succeeded by
David Abraham