Peter Salmon, the director of the BBC’s in-house production unit BBC Studios, is leaving to become chief creative officer at international TV giant Endemol Shine.
The departure of Salmon, who is responsible for the entirety of the Corporation’s in-house content production overseeing hit shows such as Doctor Who and Top Gear, is a major blow for the BBC.
It follows the high-profile departure of director of television Danny Cohen last year and a restructure which saw the abolition of the post of BBC2 controller, with Kim Shillinglaw leaving her post.
In his new job Salmon will lead the creative direction of Endemol Shine’s worldwide network of 120 production companies which makes shows ranging from Big Brother, Broadchurch, Deal or No Deal, Grantchester, Humans, Peaky Blinders and The Fall. He will also have direct charge of the company’s UK operations.
Salmon, who is married to actress Sarah Lancashire, will leave the BBC in two months time and his loss will be felt deeply at the Corporation where he was the driving force behind plans to expand BBC Studios.
Under the current plans for the Studios division, director-general Tony Hall is hoping that independent producers will be able to pitch for virtually all of the BBC’s output, with the Corporation's 2,000-strong production base in turn freed up to pitch ideas to other broadcasters.
The expansion proposals need to be effectively rubber-stamped by the Government because they have been rolled into Whitehall’s renewal of the BBC’s royal charter.
The Trust has already indicated that it is broadly supportive of the plans.
When his appointment was announced in July 2015, Hall said Salmon had a “great track record as a programme-maker and a creative leader", adding: "I believe he’s the right person to help shape and mould BBC Studios”.
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Endemol Shine has 120 production companies in more than 30 countries and a portfolio of more than 600 shows produced in more than 50 languages.
Salmon said: “The opportunity to work alongside some of the industry's most creative and prolific talent, both in the UK and internationally across Endemol Shine Group, was simply irresistible. I’ve already had the privilege of working with many of the production companies under the Endemol Shine umbrella in the UK and I’m a great admirer of shows created by the group globally. It’s an incredibly talented international team, which I can’t wait to join and collaborate with on bringing content to screens and audiences across the world.”
"My first job in the media was at the BBC 35 years ago and I am a huge supporter of the corporation, its programme makers and its ethos so it's with a mixture of excitement and sadness that I’m moving on. I agreed with Tony Hall I would help get BBC Studios successfully through this first phase, establishing a strong senior team, its direction and remit, so this feels like an appropriate time for a successor to come in and take up the baton. I look forward to working over the next couple of months to ensure there are strong foundations and a thorough handover.”
Endemol Shine Group CEO Sophie Turner Laing added: “Peter is a true creative champion. His profound understanding of the creative process and respect for talent comes with an avid desire to reach audiences. His experience will be invaluable as we look to the future having successfully united our global business over the last year, and his enthusiasm for the new role is infectious. We look forward to welcoming him to the fold.”
Tony Hall said: “I know that this job at Endemol Shine is one that Peter felt he couldn’t turn down. Peter is a hugely talented TV executive and programme maker. He leaves with our thanks and with an exceptional CV of achievement.”