Incoming BBC Boss Unveils First Personnel Decisions

 Luke Macgregor/Reuters

Incoming BBC boss Tony Hall has made his first major personnel decisions.

Set to start his role as director general in early April, he has expanded Tim Davie’s role as head of BBC Worldwide, the U.K. public broadcaster announced Thursday.

Davie’s new role, effective April 2 when Hall starts, will incorporate a more strategic global perspective. As CEO, BBC Worldwide and director of global, Davie will be responsible for developing the BBC’s international brand and editorial strategy. Davie has been acting as interim director general of the BBC since the sudden departure of George Entwistle late last year amid the Jimmy Savile scandal and editorial missteps.

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Hall has also named current BBC News director Helen Boaden as director, BBC Radio, effective April 15, and appointed TV producer James Purnell as director of strategy and digital.

The moves are expected to be the first in a series of appointments to the BBC’s senior management team. The BBC said it would now begin the process of recruiting a new director of BBC News and director of BBC Television. The posts are expected to be advertised shortly.

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"There will be no increase to the senior management pay bill as a result of these or other forthcoming changes," the BBC also said in its announcement Thursday. "Tony Hall has given the senior management team until the summer to restructure their teams in order to ensure these moves are delivered within existing budgets."

Said Hall: “I am building a senior team that will define the BBC and public service broadcasting for the next decade. It will be a team that is made up of outstanding talent from outside the BBC combined with the best people from within."

He added: “There will be more changes over the coming months and there is a lot of hard work ahead, but today’s appointments are the first steps in delivering that vision.”

Commenting on his expanded role, Davie said: "I am very pleased to take on the important task of building the BBC brand globally and leading a growing, creative BBC Worldwide."

Boaden is a former controller of BBC Radio 4. "It is a huge pleasure to be returning to my first love of radio," she said. "I look forward to working with our outstanding controllers and some of the most creative on and off air talent in the BBC. The British public love BBC Radio and I intend to cherish and champion it."

Purnell used to work for the BBC, but is currently a senior producer at TV production firm Rare Day and adviser to the Boston Consulting Group. The former U.K. secretary of state for culture also sits on the board of the British Film Institute and the Royal National Theatre. He served as head of corporate planning at the BBC in the 1990s. He will run the strategy, digital, communications, policy, public affairs, marketing and audiences divisions.

Said Purnell: “I'm really excited to be coming back to the BBC, to work on its future with such a great team. Over the last couple of years, producing and developing programs has rekindled my passion for the career I had before politics. I feel very lucky to have the chance to return to the BBC at such an important time."
 

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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