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Michael Grade has a long and distinguished career in broadcasting, encompassing London Weekend Television, chairman of the BBC and ITV, as well as over nine years as chief executive of Channel Four Television. An expert in business, media and leadership, Grade is a speaker able to entertain and inform audiences with both wit and wisdom with stories from a career spent in show business.
Grade began his career as a sports columnist with the Daily Mirror before becoming an agent in 1966. He entered the television industry in 1973 with London Weekend Television, where he rose to director of programmes in just four years. In 1981, Michael became the president of Embassy Television in the U.S., calling it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
He returned to the British airwaves in 1984 as controller of BBC One, and quickly matriculated into the positions of director of programmes and managing director designate in a three-year span. Then in 1988, Grade ascended to the chief executive of Channel 4, a British public-service TV station. During his tenure, Channel 4 saw an unprecedented level of high ratings, fueled by Grade’s acquisitions of Frasier, ER and Friends.
In May 2004, he was appointed chairman of the BBC, succeeding Gavyn Davies, before resigning in November 2006 when his appointment as executive chairman of ITV was announced. Under his leadership, ITV reorganized itself which paved the way for its current success.
He is non-executive chairman of Pinewood and Shepperton Film Studios -- the home of the Superman and James Bond film series -- non-executive chairman of Infinity Creative Media and a non-executive director of WRG, a creative communications company based in Manchester. He is a trustee of the National Museum of Science and Industry and is chair of the Media Museum in Bradford. In January 2011 he became the Conservative Peer, as Baron Grade of Yarmouth.