BBC Names Anne Bulford Deputy Director General

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She becomes the U.K. public broadcaster's no. 2 executive as part of a change that reduces the top team from 16 to 11 members.

BBC director general Tony Hall on Wednesday unveiled a reshaped senior leadership structure for the U.K. public broadcaster, which reduces the size of the overall top executive team from 16 members to 11.

Among other changes, finance boss Anne Bulford is being promoted to the role of deputy director general. She will continue to lead finance, operations, human resources, legal, and design and engineering, but also take on additional responsibilities, including for marketing and audiences, as well as a new centralized commercial and rights group, which will co-ordinate all negotiations "to deliver the best possible deals," the BBC said.

The BBC has not had a deputy director general since the exit of Mark Byford in 2011, and the promotion is seen as putting Bulford in line to possibly take over as director general when Hall leaves. So far, no woman has been director general.

"This puts Anne in charge of the distribution of content and reaching audiences in the most effective way — something vital as audiences change viewing habits," the broadcaster said. "Anne will look at what more can be done to ensure the BBC spends as much money as possible on content."

In another change, Charlotte Moore's title will change from controller of TV channels and iPlayer to director of content. She also remains controller of BBC One. She will be responsible for all the BBC’s TV channels and iPlayer and also take on oversight of BBC Sport.

Helen Boaden will continue to lead the BBC’s radio output and will add responsibility for sports station 5Live as it moves into BBC Radio. James Harding will continue as director of news and current affairs; Tim Davie’s role as director of BBC Worldwide also remains unchanged, and so does Mark Linsey’s job as director of studios.

In one corporate change, James Purnell will expand his role beyond strategy and digital with the new title of director of strategy and education. "He will lead the BBC’s work on strategy and on the delivery of the BBC’s new Ideas Service, which aims to partner the BBC with leading academic, arts and science institutions such as the British Museum, the Royal Society, the Royal Shakespeare Company, leading arts festivals and galleries to curate and commission content and offer an online resource," the broadcaster said. "This is part of a renewed drive to put education at the heart of what the BBC does. The aim is to reinvigorate the BBC’s mission on education through a new education strategy for BBC Children and BBC Learning — both of which will now report to him."

The role of head of BBC North is being cut, but the BBC said it would name a new director of nations and regions. The current directors in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland will be removed from the BBC executive team layer. They and the regional hubs in the North, Midlands and South West will report to the new executive nations and regions executive.

Below the top level of management, the broadcaster said it will now also look "to identify further headcount and post savings."

Said Hall: “I am proud of what we have achieved over the last few years. Together we stabilized the BBC after a difficult period in its history. We went on to create a compelling case for a new decade of the BBC and secured an 11-year charter as a result. Now, as we move towards this new charter period, I want us to turn our energy to focus on the future of public service broadcasting and what it means for our audiences."

And he said: “On a practical level, these changes are also about creating a simpler BBC with fewer layers and clear lines of accountability."

Added Hall: "We must continue to harness the creative power of the U.K. We must continue to be a creative beacon to the world, and we will do this best by renewing the way we engage with our audiences as we enter our centenary year."