mark price waitrose

Waitrose MD Mark Price is ready to take over as acting chairman of Channel 4 next year - but he will not be quitting his roles at Waitrose or John Lewis, a source close to Price confirmed.

The role of chairman was advertised at the weekend, with a remit to “guide the organisation through a period of substantial change” - a reference to the government’s review of Channel 4’s funding.

Price - Channel 4’s deputy chairman since July 2013 - will take over the chairman’s role on an interim basis if a replacement is not found by the time current chairman Lord Burns steps down at the end of January.

However, the interim role is expected to be fulfilled by Price without a material increase in the 22 days he currently works for Channel 4 as deputy chairman, the source confirmed - leaving Price free to continue in his capacity as MD of Waitrose and deputy chairman of John Lewis.

Lord Burns currently works five days a month for a salary of £100,000, as C4’s chairman, but Ofcom said the workload in the future had not been decided.

However, the source suggested that in the event of “any kind of privatisation”, the workload of the chairman would ultimately need to escalate as there would be “an awful lot” to do.

Ofcom told The Grocer it would not comment on how long it expected Price to be acting chair.

Price is also the outgoing chairman of Business In The Community and chair of its Rural Action Leadership Team, as well as chair of The Prince’s Countryside Fund Trustees.