Radical shake-up for BBC comms team in wake of sweeping review

Raft of promotions at the corporation coincides with controversial cutting measures.

All change: BBC outlines plans for the future
All change: BBC outlines plans for the future

A wide-ranging review of communications at the BBC has led to a raft of promotions and newly created jobs.

On the day that the BBC confirmed it would close two radio stations and halve its web output, PRWeek learned that the corporation has also finalised plans to make radical changes to its comms team.

As exclusively revealed on prweek.com (26 February), Department for International Development director of communications Paul Mylrea is joining the BBC in the new role of head of press and media. He starts on 6 April, reporting to director of comms Ed Williams.

Mylrea is to replace Donald Steel, who has been promoted into a newly created role as the corporation's chief communications adviser.

The comms review, which was kicked off last year, has also resulted in deputy head of press Ben Wilson being shifted to head of strategic comms. He replaces Sophie Brendel, who has moved to become head of digital engagement.

The head of strategic comms role is said to have been 'slightly beefed up' for Wilson.

Julian Payne has been promoted from head of comms for BBC1 and drama, to BBC Vision, where he will replace Paul Almond, who has been promoted to head of digital communications.

BBC Radio publicity staffer Jamie Austin has also been promoted to the role of head of comms for audio and music.

Launching the review last year, Williams said: 'It's a fundamental change in the way comms is organised.'

The BBC declined to comment on the review, but did confirm that the changes had already taken place.

The news comes in the week director-general Mark Thompson outlined plans to cut £100m a year from overhead costs as part of a package of cuts.

BBC comms review

Launched in October 2009, the BBC's comms review was intended to maximise cohesion across its PR team

Following the review, all 160 comms staff are in the same division, reporting directly to director of comms Ed Williams

Under the new set-up, Williams will oversee BBC Worldwide's PR operation, which was previously separate.

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