BBC culls news board amid plans to ‘modernise’

Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent
·2-min read

The BBC has culled its news board amid cuts and job losses in the division and an £80 million savings plan.

Five posts, including that held by its editorial director Kamal Ahmed, will be closed.

The broadcaster said it was “restructuring” the board as part of “plans to modernise BBC News”.

The slimmed-down board will remain headed by director of news and current affairs Fran Unsworth.

Fran Unsworth announced the changes
Fran Unsworth announced the changes (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Ahmed’s role as editorial director included overseeing Question Time and he is paid around £205,000.

Gavin Allen’s £180,000 role as head of news output, overseeing the likes of Radio 4’s Today programme, News at Six and Ten and the now-axed Victoria Derbyshire show, will also be closed.

The post of Joanna Carr, who as head of BBC current affairs looked after Panorama and Newsnight and is paid around £165,000, will also close.

In a note to staff, Unsworth said she would “like to thank them for their outstanding contribution to BBC News to date and we are exploring future options for them”.

Unsworth said the new board will help in “increasing the impact of our world-class journalism, addressing changes in the way audiences consume news, achieving our savings target, and building a diverse culture inclusive of all.”

It comes after the BBC announced cuts to Newsnight, 5Live and other news output as part of cost-cutting plans and an effort to reach the young.

The plans to “modernise its newsroom” will lead to around 450 job cuts and includes a review of the number of BBC presenters “and how they work”.

The board will be whittled down from 11 to eight, as there will be three new roles.

Jamie Angus, currently director of the World Service Group, will become senior controller, news output and commissioning.

Jonathan Munro, who is head of newsgathering, will become senior controller, news content and deputy director of news, “responsible for the production of the journalism that supports the BBC’s news programmes and platforms.”

The changes to the board will come into effect in March.