World Service picks media/PA head

The BBC has appointed Mike Gardner as head of media relations and

public affairs for the World Service.

The appointment follows a nine-month period in which he occupied the

role of acting head of media relations, following Jill Webber's

departure from the role on maternity leave in February.

On confirming the permanent appointment, the Corporation has expanded

the role to include the public affairs brief, as it steps up its efforts

to forge links between the World Service and parliament.

The department is exclusively UK-facing, with overseas promotion of the

Service continuing to be led by the BBC's marketing department.

The main issues relating to the World Service that the comms team are

working on include alerting licence fee payers to the increased

availability of the station, as well as raising awareness in the UK of

its work abroad, notably in Afghanistan.

In addition, the department will also lead campaigning ahead of the next

round of funding negotiations with its benefactor, the Foreign and

Commonwealth Office, in the coming months.

Gardner heads a team of six, reporting to deputy director of the World

Service Nigel Chapman.

Gardner has worked at the BBC for 12 years, publicising children's,

religious and sports programmes.

Prior to taking up his acting position with the World Service, Gardner

spent a four-year stint as media relations manager in the BBC's

corporate press relations department.

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