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Webb picks two highlights after stepping down from BBC North role

Alice Webb

Alice Webb said it had been a “huge privilege and pleasure” to serve as Director of BBC North after stepping down from the role after three years.

Today it was announced that the role was being scrapped, with Helen Thomas, Director of BBC England, taking on the responsibilities.

Webb joined the BBC in January 2009, initially as Programme Director for Project North, where she worked closely with the first Director of BBC North, Peter Salmon.

She was then promoted to Chief Operating Officer of BBC North in 2011 and then Director in 2016. Webb will now focus on her dual role of Director of BBC Children’s and Education.

“It’s been a huge privilege and pleasure to lead our brilliant site, alongside other senior leaders based here,” she wrote in an email to staff. 

“I’ve been involved with BBC North right from its inception – including moving up here, along with over 800 other staff, in 2011.  BBC North is in my bones and I can’t wait to see how it goes on – how you go on – to thrive and grow in the coming months and years. 

“But for now it’s time to hand over the reins to Helen Thomas, Director of BBC England.  Helen is basing herself at MediaCity and will ensure BBC North continues to push boundaries, care about creativity and be greater than the sum of our parts, just as we’ve tried to do since we opened our doors eight years ago.”

Webb picked out two main highlights from her time as Director of BBC North.

“I’ve had loads of highlights – too many to mention – but two stand out from the rest,” she wrote. “Firstly, the extraordinary way you all reacted to the Manchester Arena bomb two years ago. 

“It was a huge national story – deeply troubling, very personal and touched all of us in one way or another.  The way you all came together, to not only report the story, but to look after each other – immediately and in the days and weeks that followed – was a very powerful thing. That was the spirit and heart of BBC North at its finest and most emphatic.

 “The second is more frivolous, but also dear to my heart – and that’s our lovely bees on the roof of Quay House.  We put them up there as part of our Sustainability Season in 2018.  Not only are they a symbol of Manchester, but to me they represent the can-do attitude of BBC North. 

“We had a good idea, and just got on and did it!  One year on the bees, like BBC North, are thriving. Indeed, thriving so much our brilliant staff beekeepers have been preparing a second hive as they were set to outgrow their original one.”

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