BBC adds to press team after a troubled year

The BBC has appointed a new deputy head of press, the latest senior appointment to the broadcaster's comms team.

Ben Wilson joins the BBC in the spring, moving from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The news follows the appointment of Julian Payne, former deputy MD of Henry's House, as BBC1's head of press (PRWeek,1 February).

Payne took up the role last week, replacing Jane Fletcher, who resigned after last year's 'Crowngate' affair, when the Queen was misleadingly shown storming out of a photo shoot.

Reporting to overall head of press Donald Steel, Wilson will be a senior spokesman for the corporation, working across the full range of the BBC's corporate and other comms activities.

'In our press office you deal with absolutely every possible issue from a big TV show to a political story,' said Steel.

'It is the most wide-ranging PR job outside of government. To do this job you need to have extremely wide experience and that is exactly what Ben has. He has a classic PR background, and he has worked as a journalist.'

Wilson succeeds Sarah Williams, who left at the end of last year to take up a role in BBC Worldwide, where she is now head of comms for its 40 magazine titles and its exhibitions business.

He has worked at the DCLG since August 2006, before which he was deputy head of news at the then Department for Education and Skills (DfES) between 2005 and 2006.

Wilson has also worked as a senior press officer at Number 10, the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

During his time at the DfES Wilson was seconded to the British & Irish Lions rugby team as a media consultant on the 2005 tour of New Zealand.

He was named Young Communicator of the Year at the 1999 PRWeek Awards.

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