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Bennett to exit BBCWW

BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) chief Jana Bennett is to leave the BBC’s commercial arm in late autumn after a major restructure.

Jana Bennett

Jana Bennett

The move comes as BBCWW this afternoon announced an overhaul of the company that will see it rebuilt along geographical lines rather than divisional ones.

Bennett, president of worldwide networks and the Global BBC iPlayer, said: “Today’s announcement about the new organisation of BBC Worldwide, with regions in future holding P&L [profit and loss] responsibility, is an important step in securing the future growth of BBC Worldwide.

“I was pleased to have played a significant role in the organisational design process and fully support the changes under [CEO] John Smith’s leadership. However, with the move of P&L responsibility under the new structure I feel this is a good moment for me to work outside BBC Worldwide.”

The restructure will take effect on October 1, 2012 and will see BBCWW’s five existing divisions – Channels, Content & Production, Sales & Distribution, Consumer Products and Brands, Consumers & New Ventures – cease to exist.

Instead, P&L ownership and primary commercial accountability will move to seven geographic regions: North America; the UK; Australia/New Zealand; Western Europe; Asia; Latin America; and Central/Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA).

Under the restructure, these seven regions will report to four presidents, all of whom will report to Smith and sit on a new BBCWW executive committee.

The president for North America continues to be Viacom alumni Herb Scannell; the president for high-growth markets (Asia, Latin America and CEEMEA) will be Paul Dempsey, formerly head of customer products; the UK and Australia/New Zealand’s president will be Marcus Arthur, formerly head of global brands; and the chief sales officer and president for Western Europe will be Steve Macallister, formerly head of sales and distribution.

Other new appointments under the move include Daniel Heaf as chief digital officer, overseeing, the Global BBC iPlayer and other commercial websites; David Moody as director of strategy; and Philip Vincent as chief financial officer.

Of the original five division heads, the only remaining question mark remains over Helen Jackson, formerly head of content and production. Though she will temporarily continue in this role, the division is being brought together content creation, acquisition and channels curation, with its structure to be finalised by October. A new post of chief brands officer is also yet to be filled.

BBCWW said the move follows success it has had in the US and Australasia, where increased market focus and autonomy have resulted in headline sales growth of 21% and 29% respectively since 2009/10.

“The new organisation is designed to help us capture untapped opportunities for high-quality British content and BBC branded services across the world,” said Smith. “It has been worked out over a number of months, with inputs from across the world and throughout our company. It will accelerate delivery of our global ambition and help us drive future growth and returns to the BBC, supplementing the licence fee.”

Before the overhaul, Bennett was responsible for BBC Worldwide’s 33 owned and operated thematic channels across 100 countries in EMEA, Australasia, Asia and Latin America, as well as the Global BBC iPlayer, which launched as a pilot in July 2011 and is now in 16 countries.

She was appointed to the position in December 2010, after being director of BBC Vision, the corporation’s programme-making division. She joined the BBC in 2002. Speculation about Bennett’s departure, as part of a restructure of BBCWW’s 13-person committee, first emerged earlier this month

At the time, a BBCWW spokeswoman said the company was “looking at a number of options to increase our penetration of high-growth markets around the world.”


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