Former Times editor James Harding becomes director of BBC News

The veteran journalist, who resigned from the newspaper in 2012, will begin his new role in August

James Harding, the former editor of The Times, has been appointed as the director of BBC News and Current Affairs.

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Harding, who resigned from the newspaper in December 2012, said he was “honoured” to take up his new £340,000-a-year post at the BBC.

“The BBC’s newsroom strives to be the best in the world, trusted for its accuracy, respected for its fairness and admired for the courage of its reporting,” said Harding. “I am honoured to be a part of it.” 

Harding will take up his new post at the BBC on Monday 12 August, after spending time with the corporation’s news teams over the next six weeks to familiarise himself with their running.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said: “I am delighted that James will be joining as the new director of BBC News and Current Affairs. High quality journalism sits right at the heart of the BBC making this is an absolutely critical role.

“James has a very impressive track record as a journalist, editor and manager. I believe he will give BBC News a renewed sense of purpose as it moves away from what has been an undeniably difficult chapter. As an organisation, the BBC will also benefit from his external perspective and experience which he will share as a member of the BBC’s executive team.”

Harding replaces the outgoing news director Helen Boaden, who has taken a job as the director of BBC Radio after she was lambasted in the press last year for her role in the Jimmy Savile/Newsnight scandal.

Former Sky News head Nick Pollard, who headed an inquiry into the BBC’s handling of the issue, criticised the “casual” manner in which she told former BBC director-general Mark Thompson that an investigation by the BBC2 current affairs programme into Savile’s alleged history of child abuse might conflict with planned tribute programmes about the former Jim’ll Fix It host.

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Before becoming editor of the Times in 2007, Harding was the paper’s business editor. His media career began in 1994, when he joined the Financial Times to open its Shangai bureau.