BBC News boss James Harding leaving in January

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The BBC’s Director of News and Current Affairs, James Harding, is leaving the corporation on 1st January 2018 to set up his own media company.

He’s been in the role for nearly five years, after joining from The Times in April 2013. His role means he is the overall boss of BBC Local Radio as well as news and current affairs programmes on stations including Radio 4 and 5 live.

James replaced Helen Boaden as Director of News, and is on a salary of £340,000 a year.

James Harding says: “I am proud to have worked for BBC News as we renewed our reputation for responsible, powerful journalism: agenda-setting coverage of politics, business and the society we live in; current affairs exposing controversial issues with discipline and determination; the best and bravest international reporting, when big moments in history unfold and when under-reported stories desperately need to be told.

“Even when we’re pedalling into the wind, life at the BBC is rewarding and worthwhile. That’s possible because I have an exceptional group of hard-working, good-humoured people around me running news. I have so enjoyed being part of Tony Hall’s team and I think that, thanks to his leadership, the BBC has not only secured the resources and Charter it needs for the decade to come but is now set on a course to reinvent itself for the future. I am hugely grateful to him for having given me the chance to come to the BBC.

“So, this is not a decision I’ve taken lightly. There is some journalism that the BBC, for all its brilliance, can’t, and probably shouldn’t, do. And that’s what I want to explore: I am going to start a new media company with a distinct approach to the news and a clear point of view. I know I will enjoy the chance to do some more journalism of my own and, at such a critical time, I’m seriously excited about the prospect of building a new venture in news. I look forward to being able to say more about it when we get started in the New Year.”

Tony Hall, Director General, says: “James has done an incredible job during a hugely complex and momentous period of British and world history. He has led the BBC’s coverage through two referendums, two general elections, an astonishing US Presidential election, not to mention a series of extraordinary events at home and abroad.

“He supervised lasting changes to programmes and services while also appointing a range of new editors, on air and off, including the appointment of the BBC’s first female Political Editor. James has launched slow news and Reality Check to counter fake news. During his time as director, the World Service has started to launch a dozen new language services with the extra money secured from Government. The BBC has revolutionised its digital story-telling, taking the lead in news for mobile devices. These are significant achievements.

“In the years James has been with us he’s played an important part in modernising and changing the BBC, but beyond that, he has been a first-class colleague and a pleasure to work with. We shall miss him and wish him every success with his new venture.”

The BBC says the process to appoint James Harding’s successor will begin shortly.

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