BBC global news chief Sambrook to leave journalism

Richard Sambrook has revealed that he is to end his 30-year-career at the BCC by stepping down from his £300,000 pa role as the corporation’s director of global news.

Sambrook is to become a visiting fellow at the Reuters Insititute for the Study of Journalism next year, before taking up a new job outside journalism and broadcasting – he has revealed on his blog this morning.

Sambrook, 53, is responsible for leading the BBC’s international news services across radio, television and new media.

He took up his current job in September 2004 and was previously director of BBC news from 2001-2004. In a 30-year-career at the BBC he has been deputy director of the news division, director of sport, a producer and programme editor on national TV news programmes and news editor BBC newsgathering.

His first job in the BBC was as a sub-editor in the radio newsroom. Before that he was a trainee journalist on the Celtic Press and South Wales Echo between 1977 and 1980.

When he leaves early next year, Sambrook will be succeeded by Peter Horrocks, who is expected to combine the director of global news post with his current role as director of the BBC World Service.

Sambrook moved to the global news division in 2004 from his previous job as director of BBC News following publication of the Hutton report. As director of news he had been a key figure in the BBC’s row with then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government over the dossier that set out the reasons for going to war with Iraq.

Fallout from the row led to the departures of BBC director general Greg Dyke and chairman Gavyn Davies.

He said on his blog today: “The BBC is not an easy organisation to leave – there are few places which are as creative, as woven into the fabric of national life, and which can provide as many opportunities and privileges as the BBC. However, 2010 will mark 30 years in BBC journalism for me – and, from march next year, it’s time to go.

“I have enjoyed fantastic opportunities as a producer and editor, witnessing moments of history, meeting the powerful and the powerless and touching the lives of millions through landmark programmes.

“I’ve had the privilege to lead three different divisions – sport, news and global news. It has been a joy to work with hugely talented teams and individuals across the BBC and in particular in the last few years in the World Service and Global News.

“Their commitment to strong impartial, independent News, which I’ve been proud to support, develop and defend, remains as important today as it has ever been. And with audiences for the BBC’s international news as high as they have ever been (238 million each week), it’s a good time to step off.”

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