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Ex-Times editor James Harding made BBC News chief

New BBC News chief James Harding. Picture: Getty

New BBC News chief James Harding. Picture: Getty

FORMER Times editor James Harding has been appointed head of BBC News, replacing Helen Boaden who was in charge when the Jimmy Savile scandal erupted.

• Former Times editor James Harding replaces Helen Boading as head of BBC News

• Mr Harding resigned from News International-owned newspaper last year

• Ms Boaden’s role during Jimmy Savile scandal was heavily scrutinised as she stepped aside for a spell

The journalist, who edited the paper for five years before leaving last year, starts in the £340,000-a-year role in August.

Ms Boaden was director of news for eight-and-a-half years but had to step aside for a spell in the wake of the Savile investigations, before moving to become director of BBC Radio.

Her time in charge was scrutinised by the Pollard review, which said her division went into “virtual meltdown” during the scandal.

Mr Harding will head the news division, which employs more than 8,000 staff, and sit on the BBC’s executive and management boards.

He said: “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. I am honoured to be a part of it.”

BBC director-general Tony Hall praised his “impressive track record”.

He said: “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.”

Mr Harding told Times staff in December that it had been “made clear” to him News Corporation wanted to replace him. He said: “I have, therefore, agreed to stand down. I called Rupert (Murdoch) this morning to offer my resignation and he accepted it.”

News International announced the appointment of Sunday Times boss John Witherow as acting editor of The Times shortly after Mr Harding’s departure.

 

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