BBC names first digital comms head

Friday, December 11 2009, 12:53 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

The BBC has promoted BBC Vision's communications boss Paul Almond to become its first head of digital comms.

Almond will now lead the BBC's newly created digital and social media unit, which includes the Future Media & Technology team and the web publishing operation, along with an as-yet-unnamed social media manager.

He will be replaced at Vision by Julian Payne, current head of communications for BBC One & Fiction. Payne will take responsibility for all communications around the BBC's television channels and services, including BBC Films. He will also provide "strategic communications counsel" to BBC director of Vision Jana Bennett and her senior team.

The moves are a direct result of BBC director of communications Ed Williams' decision to restructure the comms team. Both men will still report to Williams and also join the BBC communications steering group.

"This is the most exciting time for communications and the possibilities being offered by digital and social media," said Almond. "I am looking forward to delivering a new approach to communications and harnessing the full potential of the BBC in this area."

Payne added: "I am delighted to have the opportunity of leading the highly-talented communications team at BBC Vision. The BBC's range of television channels and services offer fantastic opportunities for communicators and I look forward to working closely with Jana Bennett and her team to ensure that viewers are aware of all that is on offer."

Also welcoming the appointments, Williams said: "I am particularly pleased that two individuals with such a strong and impressive track record in television and communications have accepted senior roles within our new communications team.

"These are very important roles within the BBC and I believe Paul and Julian will bring energy, ideas and excellent judgement to them."

Before joining BBC Vision in 2008, Almond previously acted as head of communications at BBC Future Media & Digital and worked under Alan Yentob and Janet Street-Porter at BBC Music & Arts and Youth Programmes.

After spending three years in Sky's press team, Payne joined the BBC as head of communications for Radio 1. He left the corporation in 2005 to join Henry's House PR, where he handled press for Channel 4, Virgin Media and Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment, but rejoined in 2008 as head of communications for BBC One & Fiction.