BBC creates 20 new posts as Jay heads for retirement

Jay: 12 years as economics editor

The BBC announced the retirement of economics editor Peter Jay as it unveiled a raft of changes, including 20 new jobs as part of a £2m investment in its business and economics unit.

Jay, 64, economics editor for 12 years, will be replaced by Evan Davis, who has worked on Newsnight for the past four years and was previously economics correspondent.

Other journalists given starring roles in the shake-up are internet business correspondent Greg Wood, who has been made business presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme, and Jenny Scott, who has been promoted to business and economics correspondent and will focus on TV output.

The changes further dismantle former director general John Birt’s bi-media policy following last year’s controversial shake-up of the social affairs unit. Journalists claimed decisions about who was given a TV or radio role were based on their looks.

But business editor Jeff Randall, who has been carrying out the review along with Vin Ray, deputy head of newsgathering, said that "as reviews go" it had been well received.

"Obviously some people aren’t going to be happy when you review a whole department, but by the BBC’s standards it hasn’t been any real shakes," said Randall.

Rory Cellan-Jones and Russell Hayes, along with Scott, will focus on TV output, while Jonty Bloom and Nigel Cassidy will focus on radio.

A new post of radio business and industry correspondent will be created.

Dedicated business reporters have also been lined up for BBC programmes, with Paul Mason working for Newsnight and a new post created for The World Tonight. Pauline McCole and Richard Griffiths will work as reporters for BBC Radio’s 5 Live Money programme.

New jobs created as a result of the review include a North America business correspondent post, which has been filled by Steve Evans. Julia Caesar has also been recruited from CNBC to take up the new role of European business reporter, based in Frankfurt.

A new City reporter, Manisha Tank, has joined from Reuters and Sky News business reporter Hugh Pym has been taken on to work on a new early-morning programme, World Business Report, which will launch on BBC1 and BBC World next month.

The corporation also announced it would be creating 20 new jobs and a £2m investment in business and economics programmes following a review of the two departments which began earlier this year.

By Julie tomlin

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