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Content chief Jackson to leave BBCWW

BBC Worldwide (BBCWW)’s chief content officer Helen Jackson is to leave the company after 31 years.

Helen Jackson

Jackson’s decision comes after BBCWW merged its operations with BBC Studios in November, which will bring the UK pubcaster’s programme production, sales and distribution together under one roof.

She will remain at BBC Studios throughout 2018, working with indie partners and continuing as a director on the board of a number of invested indies.

Jackson has worked on BBCWW output across various genres and was behind initiatives such as straight-to-series drama commissioning entity Benchmark Television and its investment in producers such as Lookout Point.

BBCWW and BBC Studios’ restructure followed the decision to relax production quotas and run the BBC’s in-house production as a commercial business, capable of competing for commissions from rival broadcasters, an idea first mooted in 2015.

Studios and BBCWW already work together on shows such Blue Planet II, which is produced by Studios but three-quarters-funded by BBCWW and partners.

The pubcaster said that joining the two units together officially will allow them to operate more efficiently.

Jackson’s exit comes as the newly enlarged BBC Studios prepares to launch in April. Tim Davie, who was appointed CEO of the new entity, said Jackson’s “contribution to the BBC is hard to overstate.”

He added: “She has had both the vision and the relationships to attract numerous producers to BBCWW over many years and is rightly held in the highest regard both inside and outside the organisation.”

In related news, Davie and chief creative officer Mark Linsey have made the final additions to BBC Studios’ executive committee.

The appointments comprise four genre MDs, three regional presidents and three group services roles.

The genre MDs are Hannah Wyatt for factual entertainment and events, Lisa Opie for factual, Nick Betts for scripted and Suzy Lamb for entertainment and music.

Each will be responsible for leading the commercial, creative and business teams within BBC Studios production, and developing and implementing the business strategy for their genre.

The regional presidents are Ann Sarnoff for the Americas; Marcus Arthur for UK/Ireland and Australia/New Zealand, and Paul Dempsey for global markets.

Each regional president will be responsible for leading content sales, branded services including joint ventures, consumer products and other commercial exploitation activities in their market.

Finally, the group services positions have been handed to Charlotte Elston, director of communications; David Moody, director of strategy and business development; and Jaclyn Lee-Joe, chief marketing officer.

“Now that Mark and I have our full executive committee in place, we are looking forward to getting on with growing BBC Studios as a world-class home for British creativity,” said Davie.

The appointments will take effect in April with the official formation of BBC Studios. The executive committee will be responsible for the day-to-day management of BBC Studios, in line with the strategy and financial plan agreed by the BBC Commercial Holdings Board.

Appointments to the BBC Studios Executive Committee previously announced include Tim Davie, CEO; Mark Linsey, CCO; Tom Fussell, chief financial officer; Anna Mallett, chief operating officer and MD, production; Martyn Freeman, general counsel; and Jabbar Sardar, human resources director.


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