Purnell U.K. culture czar

PM Brown taps Jowell's replacement

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has appointed pensions minister James Purnell as the new secretary of state for culture, media and sport, replacing Tessa Jowell, who will retain responsibility for the 2012 Olympic portfolio, it was announced Thursday (HR 6/29).

The move, which came during a day of Cabinet announcements that followed Tony Blair's departure Monday, is a return to the department for the former junior culture minister. Purnell will assume oversight of the broadcasting, film and advertising industries. Two key issues confronting him immediately are a review of the role of public-service broadcasting in the U.K. and negotiations on film co-production treaties.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for the department and the issues it covers, and I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead," Purnell said.

A new broadcasting minister also will be appointed in the next few days following Shaun Woodward's departure to become the new Northern Ireland secretary.