BBC Scotland chief to leave post after seven years

Ken MacQuarrie will be leaving BBC Scotland after more than four decades.

Ken MacQuarrie will be leaving BBC Scotland after more than four decades.

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THE head of BBC Scotland is to leave the job after seven years with immediate effect to take up a senior management role.

Ken MacQuarrie’s newly-created post as director of nations and regions will include responsibility for output in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The new role, which will see Mr McQuarrie sit on the BBC’s executive board, was created by director general Tony Hall in July as part of a management shake-up.

The BBC said part of his job - which is aimed at ensuring the BBC "represents the changing UK more effectively" - will involve identifying savings across the nations and regions to help free up more resources for programming in the face of around £150 million corporation’s funding cuts.

The BBC is facing demands from the Scottish Government to ensure a “fairer share” of licence fee money raised in Scotland is spent north of the border. A new director of BBC Scotland will be recruited to replace Mr MacQuarrie.

Mr McQuarrie has also been responsible for the trials of a "Scottish Six" news bulletin, which would see an-hour long show replacing the separate BBC News at Six and Reporting Scotland programmes north of the border.

Mr Hall said: “Reflecting the nations and serving them well is vital for the BBC and a key part of the new Charter.

“There is no one better than Kenny to get this right. He is a supremely-able leader and manager and is hugely respected, not just within the BBC, but outside as well.

“I know he’s the right person to give the nations and regions a strong voice across the BBC.”

Mr McQuarrie, who has been with BBC Scotland for more than four decades, has been responsibility for 1500 staff across Scotland since his appointment in April 2009. He was previous controller and head of programmes.

Mr McQuarrie, who is from the Isle of Mull, began his career with the corporation in 1975 as a radio producer for BBC Highland. He transferred to television four years later, working as a producer at BBC Scotland’s headquarters in Glasgow.

He was appointed head of broadbast in 1996 and became head of programmes four years later, overseeing hit shows like Chewin’ the Fat and Still Game.

He led BBC Scotland’s relocation from its long-time home in Glasgow’s west end to a purpose-built new headquarters on the Clyde in 2007.

Mr MacQuarrie said: “I’m looking forward to beginning this new role. I know how much audiences value the BBC reflecting their own communities. From the Isles of Scilly to Shetland there are some great stories to be told.

“We want to represent and report all corners of the UK and everybody should feel that the BBC offers something for them. I’ll enjoy championing our excellent nations and regions teams at the top table.”