Television

BBC World Service chief Peter Horrocks to step down

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MUMBAI: BBC World Service Group director Peter Horrocks is leaving the corporation in the New Year after 33 years with the UK broadcaster.

Horrocks has been director of the World Service since 2009, taking responsibility for BBC World News TV and multimedia services in 28 languages. Under his leadership weekly audiences for the BBC’s global news services - BBC World Service, BBC World News and BBC.com – have reached a record of 265 million.

He  has led the World Service through some of its most challenging times, responding to funding cuts by modernising the World Service for the digital age. He also oversaw moves to make the World Service the BBC’s first licence fee funded operation to take advertising and sponsorship, a change that proved contentious.

Announcing his resignation from BBC, Horrocks said, “It has been a privilege to be director of the BBC World Service, which is loved and trusted by hundreds of millions of people around the world. I am hugely proud of the dedication, the creativity and the reinvention shown by my team. The World Service now has its largest ever audience, an expanding number of languages, is modernised and transformed for a digital age.”

“Having overseen this recovery and taken the World Service into the new era of licence fee funding, it is time for me to move on to my next challenge. I will miss BBC but am confident that the BBC’s global news services are in strong shape for the future,” he added.

BBC World News has undergone a creative renewal that is being appreciated by audiences around the world and bbc.com/news now regularly achieves one billion page views a month. BBC News is the most retweeted news source in the world.

Talking about Horrocks, BBC director general Tony Hall said, "Peter’s remarkable career at the BBC has spanned more than three decades. Starting as a news trainee, he established himself as the youthful editor of public eye before going on to lead teams that produced some of the BBC’s most important news programmes.”

“Those who have worked with him know of his energy, drive, his passion for journalism and his innovation but they have also come to appreciate his editorial integrity and his deeply rooted sense of BBC values. He leaves us as one of our most respected leaders. He is a force of nature and we will miss him,” he added.

Agreeing with the director general, director of BBC News and Current Affairs James Harding said,” “Peter Horrocks has been a defining figure in the modern history of the BBC World Service and global news. His sharp intellect, open-mindedness and good judgment have shaped BBC News and Current Affairs for three decades. He has recruited and inspired hundreds of people here in the UK and around the world. And, like few others, he has set his stamp on both the programmes and the personality of the BBC.”

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