The BBC has appointed Helen Thomas as Director of BBC England, a new role created as part of its promise to “better serve” all nations and regions within the UK.
The post sits alongside the existing Directors for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and replaces the Controller of BBC English Regions role held by David Holdsworth who is leaving the BBC after more than three decades.
Thomas will have direct editorial and operational responsibility across England, overseeing 13 regional television services, 39 local radio stations and regional and local online services.
Commenting on her appointment, Helen Thomas said: “I feel very lucky to be given this exciting new role to lead the BBC’s work in England. It’s so important that we serve and reflect all of the country’s diverse communities.
“England is a complex, changing place and the BBC needs to evolve our offer to ensure we are providing the best services possible to people across the country.
“In the last year, I’ve been focusing on how to reinvent local radio so that it better reflects our communities, nurtures new talent and brings people together through new partnerships and engaging content.
“This work will continue and I hope to extend it right across everything the BBC does in England. I’m looking forward to making creative, compelling content that entertains and informs all our audiences.”
Ken MacQuarrie, BBC Director of Nations and Regions, said: “We’ve made a big commitment to better serve the nations and regions and represent the diversity of the UK.
“This new role will be central to that work by providing strategic direction and overall leadership in England across all platforms.
“Helen brings with her a wealth of skills and experience, as a journalist, programme-maker and leader.
“She is a creative, innovative thinker who has a track record of forging new partnerships and championing content that reaches new audiences.
“Through her work on the reinvention of Local Radio to leading our biggest English region, Yorkshire, she has shown she is passionate about serving all of our communities and making content that reflects and represents our audiences.
“I know she will do a fantastic job.
“I would like to thank David Holdsworth, who leaves the BBC this week, for his outstanding service over more than three decades.
“He has provided brilliant leadership to our teams across England.”