BBC charity hires former government special adviser as next chief

Charity

A former Conservative special adviser has been named as the next boss of the BBC’s international development charity.

Simon Bishop will become chief executive of BBC Media Action next month.

He succeeds Caroline Nursey, who is retiring this year after leading the charity for 14 years.

Bishop is leaving the charity The Power of Nutrition after three years in charge.

He was previously deputy chief executive of Plan International UK and worked as a special adviser at the Department for International Development between 2017 and 2019. He has also worked at the BBC as a journalist.

BBC Media Action supports independent journalism across the world. It has an annual income of nearly £35m.

Bishop said: “Leading BBC Media Action is a unique opportunity for me to combine my passion for international development with media and communication for good, helping empower the lives of more than 100 million people a year around the world. That’s an incredibly exciting prospect.

“Twenty years ago I was also a BBC journalist, so this also represents a ‘coming home’ for me. I can’t wait to get started.”

Francesca Unsworth, chair of the charity’s trustees, said of Bishop: “His energy, drive, and depth and breadth of experience will serve the BBC’s international charity well as it continues to adapt in a fast-changing digital age, while continuing to reach and engage poor and marginalised communities with information they can trust.

“As civic spaces narrow and public interest media everywhere face increasing threats, our expertise and our creativity are more needed than ever.”

Nursey said: “The work we do is even more important today than when I joined in 2009.

“Media and communication have become ever more central to development, in an age of mis- and disinformation and in the midst of a climate crisis.”

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