The BBC's executive producer of current affairs, Fiona Stourton, has left the BBC to work in the independent sector.
Her move comes as the corporation continues to seek redundancies in the current affairs department.
Her portfolio over the past year alone included award-winning documentaries such as Children of Beslan, Elusive Peace — Israel and the Arabs and two series on Al Qaeda with Peter Taylor.
As part of the BBC's new "Windows of Creative Competition" scheme, more programmes are being opened up to independent producers.
Stourton said: "I know the BBC is serious about increasing its commissioning from outside, so I don't feel I am leaving so much as hoping to continue to make programmes for the corporation from a different place — as well as for the competition!"
Yet many staff in the current affairs department remain "concerned" over the BBC's ongoing plans to axe six posts, which equates to 30 per cent of staff as part of the corporation's "Value for Money" scheme.
Regular emails have been sent asking employees to get in contact if they are interested in redundancy.
One BBC insider told Press Gazette: "The problem is that Mark Thompson (director general) has always made it clear that if they can't get enough voluntarily, they will push them through.
"That has always loomed as a threat, but in terms of our department actually telling us — ‘Right, OK, guys, here it is: we haven't got enough so we'll have to pick six of you' — that has certainly not been discussed, even informally."
A BBC spokesman said: "We have not exhausted the process of voluntary redundancy."