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BBC scraps Director of the North role after 11 years

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The BBC is scrapping the role of Director of the North after 11 years, with Helen Thomas taking over the duties in her job as Director, England.

Peter Salmon was the first Director of the North in 2008 and oversaw the relocation of departments including Sport, Children’s and 5 live to MediaCityUK in Salford in 2011.

He was succeeded in 2016 by Director of Children’s Alice Webb, whose remit was to champion the BBC in the North, oversee corporate activities and drive local partnerships. However, she was recently appointed to the dual role of Director of BBC Children’s and Education and will now focus on that.

Thomas, who was appointed to her new job in May last year, is based at MediaCityUK and will continue to champion BBC North, a spokesman told Prolific North.

Ken MacQuarrie, Director of BBC Nations & Regions, wrote to staff announcing the news this morning.

“Since the BBC moved to MediaCityUK eight years ago, Salford has been a thriving and creative hub,” he said. “With a collaborative and forward thinking culture, it has grown to be a home to nearly 3,500 people.

“We have been learning from Salford and other creative bases across England to develop the BBC’s approach to serving audiences better right across the country.

“Last year, Helen Thomas was appointed as Director, BBC England. Helen represents teams and audiences across England, supported by her new leadership team, who will be based at sites across the country.

“With Helen based in the North, now feels like the right time to bring the leadership of North and England together. Helen will now oversee the North, along with her duties as Director, England.

“Alice Webb has fulfilled the role of Director, North alongside her day-job as Director, BBC Children’s for the past three years. I would like to thank Alice for the tremendous contribution she has made to the BBC’s continued creative development in the North.

“She has played a significant role in making the North the thriving media hub it is today, right from its inception. She is a passionate supporter of both the region and the broader development of the BBC out of London.

“We will continue to work closely with Alice as she focuses on her new, combined role as Director, BBC Children’s & Education.”

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