Helen Boaden confirms retirement as BBC radio chief

Boaden will leave in March after what will be 34 years of service and James Purnell will replace her

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Long-serving BBC radio chief Helen Boaden will step down from the BBC in March, the Corporation has confirmed. Strategy director James Purnell has also been confirmed as her replacement.

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The move had been in the pipeline for months and involved “intense wrangling” between Boaden and director general Tony Hall according to sources.

RadioTimes.com first reported the fact that hall was lining Purnell up as her successor on July 7.

Lord Hall said: “I want real ambition: a powerhouse for radio – and our education mission around the world. I know we’ve got the people, programmes and ideas to do just that.”

Purnell said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to lead the new division, Radio and Education, bringing together Arts, Music and Network Radio with Children’s and Learning. We’re the best public service broadcaster in the world in all these areas. They’re unique, but face common challenges – from reaching younger audiences to workings in partnership.

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“We’ve got a singular advantage in all our areas: we either have or could get global rights. I want us to use this advantage to think about how we could take on the world for the benefit of our audiences and for Britain.”