Sunday, January 31, 2016


The new chairman of Channel 4, Charles Gurassa, boasts some limited tv experience. At York University, he overlapped with Greg Dyke, then a mature student. Charlie tooks his economics degree to Thomas Cook as a graduate trainee, and rose to run their offices in Hammersmith. Staff were rewarded with a pyjama party at the Palais. Then he was sent to Cook's Hong Kong offices, and featured regularly on the local tv channel as a travel expert.

After ten years, he joined British Airways to sort out their holiday business, and helped pick Barbara Cassani to run budget operation Go! in 1998 (It was Gone! in 2001). Thence to Thomson Holidays, where, as Chief Executive, he did more than nicely out of the sale to a German company which resulted in "Tui".

From 2003, he moved from wage slave to serial non-executive. He was enticed into chairing Virgin Mobile by Richard Branson, which floated in 2004.  Two years later, Richard kept Charlie pretty much in the dark when negotiating the sale of the operation to NTL, but he was probably well rewarded for any embarassment. 2006 saw a landing in a tidy $4.5m villa in Notting Hill for his young family, to match his farmhouse in Tuscany - which produces around 750 bottles of wine a year and some olive oil.

He was chairman of Vanguard Car Rental until 2006, when it sold its European operation to Europcar for an estimated £600m. He was chairman of DVD deliverers LoveFilm, until the £200m sale to Amazon in 2011.  He was chairman of Phones4U until the £700 million sale to a private equity firm in 2011. He was chairman of the Parthenon Media Group, with a back catalogue of wildlife and other factual programmes, until its 2012 sale to Sky, estimated at £16.5m. He was chairman of mobile telecoms clearing house MACH when it was taken over by Syniverse, for an estimated £490m.

He says he's a Chelsea fan.

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