BBC Radio boss to move to Worldwide

By | Published on Monday 22 October 2012

BBC Worldwide

Tim Davie, the former Pepsi marketer who has headed up BBC Radio since 2008, is taking his commercial sector credentials over to the Beeb’s commercial division, BBC Worldwide, which he will lead from 1 Dec. He replaces John Smith, who has worked at the Corporation since 1989, and as boss of the BBC’s commercial operations since 2004.

Davie’s move to BBC Worldwide has seemed certain ever since George Entwistle became Director General of the Corporation at large, the new DG wanting a closer relationship between the main part of the Beeb and its commercial spin-off, and favouring Davie as the man to make that happen. However, negotiating Smith out of his current contract at BBC Worldwide required some work.

Confirming Davie’s new role, Entwistle said on Friday: “Tim has done an excellent job leading the BBC Audio & Music division and has a fantastic vision for the opportunities that lie ahead for BBC Worldwide. Tim will now take the BBC’s commercial arm into the next chapter of its development. I am delighted he will be joining the team at this crucial time”.

BBC Audio & Music’s Controller Of Production Graham Ellis will lead the Corporation’s radio and music division on an interim basis until a full-time replacement is appointed. Current Radio 2 Controller Bob Shennan and Roger Mosey, currently leading the Beeb’s TV division on an interim basis, are both possible contenders for the A&M top job, according to The Guardian.

Though it’s thought that Entwistle wants to overhaul the current structure of the BBC, which might alter the Corporation’s senior management make-up, and therefore change the remit of any radio and music director. How quickly such changes will occur isn’t clear, and will rely, of course, on the new DG surviving the storm that has erupted over the Jimmy Savile scandal and the axing of a ‘Newsnight’ investigation into the child abuse allegations against the former BBC star just as BBC Vision, then under Entwistle, was planning its Savile tribute shows last Christmas.

Meanwhile, it will also be interesting to see what Davie’s new role means for the previously reported BBC Playlister venture, first rumoured earlier this month, and which was reportedly being personally led by the A&M boss.

This would make available online large portions of the music recordings sitting in the BBC’s archives, such as sessions, concerts and music shows produced by the Beeb over the years. It’s not clear whether such a service would be a standalone platform, or made available via other third-party streaming set ups, or a combination of both. If third parties were involved, it would make sense for the new music venture to be handled by BBC Worldwide, enabling Davie to retain control of this project in his new role.