David Holdsworth, Controller, English Regions, is leaving the BBC after 33 years at the corporation.
In an email to all staff today, James Harding, Director, News and Current Affairs, said: “David is one of the most influential figures in the modern history of local radio and regional TV in the BBC. In his thoughtful and determined way, he has expanded the breadth of our broadcasting, enlivened what we do on air and ensured we keep engaged with cities, counties and communities across the country. During his 33 years at the BBC, he has launched two radio stations, worked as a TV producer and TV editor and ran three regions: the North West, the East and the West Midlands.”
He leads more than 3,000 staff in local programme and news teams across England and is responsible for editorial leadership and overall management of 12 television regions, 39 local radio stations and online.
David ran the first pilot of local video online and on the red button and will continue to work on the delivery of all the local news partnership projects until he leaves in the spring.
James continues: “I am hugely grateful to him for helping me both to run BBC News these past years and to appreciate all that we do across the English Regions.
“We will advertise for a new Controller, English Regions promptly and the appointment will be made by the new Director of News and Current Affairs in the new year.”
David Holdsworth said: “Choosing to leave now has been a difficult decision because I have loved every minute of my job. But this feels like a good moment to hand over BBC English Regions. Our budget is secure and the importance of the services we provide is understood clearly.
“I am hugely proud of the teams I have led for nearly nine years. They make the most watched news programme on British television (the 6:30 BBC One regional bulletin), run 39 unique radio stations that attract six million listeners, produce some of the most innovative and engaging digital news content available and make England’s only current affairs TV programme Inside Out.
“The local media landscape has changed significantly since I first became a journalist 40 years ago. There has been a sharp drop in the number of journalists on local newspapers and there is less genuinely local radio or regional current affairs made outside the BBC. This makes the BBC’s local mission more crucial than ever. I will be cheering on my successor and the whole of English Regions once I have left.”
David implemented the BBC’s Women in Radio initiative which helped boost the number of women presenting on BBC Radio and he also oversaw the start of a transition of BBC Local Radio’s switch to a virtualised equipment and infrastructure entitled The Virtual Local Radio (ViLoR) project.
David joined the BBC in 1985 and was in the launch team for two new BBC local radio stations, in Shropshire and Hereford & Worcester.