BBC DG Thompson stresses need for radical change

MUMBAI: BBC's new Director-General (DG) Mark Thompson had a clear message to a staff gathering of the need for real, radical change over the next few years.

Outlining a restructuring of the BBC's executive committee, Thompson also announced reviews into its commercial businesses, production and commissioning, and how to increase efficiencies and control costs through self help.

He said, "Without great programmes, great content, we're nothing. Our task is going to be to change the BBC more rapidly and radically over the next three to five years than at any previous point in its history. We believe that over the next decade the BBC will have a bigger role than ever in building public value, creating a far more open, responsive, agile BBC and always putting our audiences first.

One of his first moves will be to make the structure of the BBC simpler, more effective and more able to adapt and change. This will be done through the creation of three new boards, covering the BBC's main activities.

Thompson said that since he left the BBC in early 2002 to become Chief Executive of Channel 4, both the BBC and he had changed and he was coming back with fresh eyes.

Thompson will chair a cross media creative board made up of all the divisions that drive the BBC's creative work. Alan Yentob who is currently BBC's drama and entertainment director will also become its creative director.

BBC Deputy DG Mark Byford, in an enhanced role, will now lead all BBC's journalism. He will chair a new Journalism Board. This will bring all BBC's journalism at an international, UK, national, regional and local level together for the first time.

Finance director John Smith will chair the third board. This will covering the BBC's commercial businesses, giving greater strategic clarity and realising economic and creative potential.

He will also be BBC COO. He is in charge of all the BBC's commercial and resourcing subsidiaries, as well as leading its finance and property departments.

Thompson said the creation of the three boards meant he could reduce the BBC's Executive Committee from 16 people to a tighter Executive Board of nine.

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