James Purnell gets BBC management role

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

James Purnell, the ex-Labour culture secretary and former MP for Stalybridge and Hyde has been named as director of strategy and digital at the BBC.

It marks a return to the corporation for Purnell who was head of corporate planning in the 1990s. His new remit includes running the strategy, digital, communications, policy, public affairs, marketing and audience divisions.

“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 programmes 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,” he said.

Incoming BBC director general, Tony Hall, made the announcement along with a series of other senior management appointments. These include an expanded role for Tim Davie at BBC Worldwide and Helen Boaden’s move to director, BBC Radio.

“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,” said Lord Hall.

“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.”

Purnell is currently a senior producer at Rare Day, the production company founded by former Channel 4 exec, Peter Dale. He’s also an adviser to the Boston Consulting Group.

The BBC has confirmed that he will take up his post on 20th March, on a salary of £295k.

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