BBC adds Steel to communications team

Wednesday, November 11 2009,

The BBC has promoted former head of press Donald Steel to become its new chief communications adviser.

Starting immediately, Steel will give strategic counsel on all communications issues at the BBC, particularly during times of "reputational crisis".

Reporting to director of communications Ed Williams, Steel will also advise on the handling and impact of the BBC's major announcements, and help the corporation's staff to more effectively deal with the media.

Also in the move, Steel has been appointed the first associate fellow of the BBC Academy.

"Donald has been a key fixture of communications at the BBC for many years and has a phenomenal reputation both within the BBC and externally," said Williams.

"He has provided wise counsel to the BBC's executives over many years, and has led the BBC's response to many significant moments in its recent history.

"I am looking forward to working closely with him as we implement the changes to BBC communications that I recently announced."

Steel added: "I am very pleased to be asked to develop my contribution in this strategic and influential way.

"I believe the BBC has one of the strongest communications and publicity teams in the business, and I look forward to supporting them as we move forward together under Ed Williams's leadership."

Since 1989, Steel has led the BBC's press teams, including handling various challenging stories, such as the murder of presenter Jill Dando and the launch of Freeview.