Robbie Gibb, the head of BBC Westminster and editor of the Daily and Sunday Politics shows, has been named as the Prime Minister’s new director of communications.
Gibb said on Twitter: “I am pleased to announce I will be leaving the BBC to join the Prime Minister, Theresa May, as her new Director of Communications.
“It’s been a privilege to work for the BBC. I will always be a supporter because of its values and commitment to impartiality.”
The producer, whose brother is Conservative minister Nick Gibb, had been tipped as the favourite for the Number 10 job after BBC colleague James Landale said yesterday that he had ‘decided not to apply’ for the role.
Gibb, also executive editor of the Andrew Marr Show, has spent 23 years at the BBC. He was previoulsy deputy editor of Newsnight, a senior producer at On The Record and deputy head of the Political Research Unit.
In a message to staff, BBC News director James Harding, said: “Robbie has deployed his renowned organisational skills, political acumen and editorial creativity to the benefit of the BBC on countless occasions.
“From the precision of the Daily Politics, Sunday Politics, This Week and The Andrew Marr Show – including special Budget programmes – to that historic moment of the Wembley Arena debate last June: the broadcasting highlight of the EU Referendum campaign. “
He added: “Robbie always has an eye to the interests of our audiences, he has been an innovator in story-telling on television and an unrelenting advocate of the BBC, its independence and our public service role. The signal quality he and his programmes have shown is the willingness to speak truth to power – I suspect it will come in handy.
“He is, above all, a wise, generous, thoughtful and extremely funny colleague. We will miss him greatly.”
Replacing Gibb as head of BBC Westminster is BBC Political News editor Katy Searle, who said on Twitter today: “Congrats to v talented
@RobbieGibb off to No 10 top comms job. Pleased to be taking over for now as Head of BBC Westminster.”
The top Number 10 PR role was left vacant after Kate Perrior quit in April, on the day Theresa May called a snap general election, amid reports of a rift with other members of the Downing Street team.
Picture: Reuters/Francois Lenoir