Top news role for Unsworth

The BBC has appointed head of political programmes Fran Unsworth to replace Adrian Van Klaveren as head of the newsgathering operation.

The move follows Van Klaveren’s appointment as deputy director of news and controller of production.

Unsworth has been in charge of BBC political programmes since July 2000 and played a central role in the BBC’s review of them under former director general Greg Dyke three years ago.

She will be responsible for the newsgathering operation at a time when it is expected to make cuts of 15 per cent as part of director general mark Thompson’s cost-cutting.

Unsworth, who began her career in local radio, moved on to become a producer on Radio 1’s Newsbeat and later a senior producer on Radio 4’s World at One and PM. Before moving to Westminster, Unsworth was home news editor for two years and spent two years in the BBC News social affairs unit as assignments editor.

Unsworth, along with deputy head of newsgathering Vin Ray, was among those tipped to take over from Van Klaveren. Ray, however, is understood to have ruled himself out of the job.

Director of news Helen Boaden said: “Fran has successfully managed political programmes through a period of great change and has a strong editorial track record. She understands the workings of newsgathering.”

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