Media giant Bauer has named BBC executive Richard Dawkins as its new European radio boss, the company said today.
Bauer, which owns radio stations such as Absolute and Kiss, said Dawkins will join the firm in late spring in the newly-created role of European radio chief operating officer.
Dawkins is currently chief operating officer for BBC Content, which commissions a range of programmes for the broadcaster’s channels.
Bauer said Dawkins will work alongside the senior radio management team to identify new market and commercial opportunities in a bid to drive growth.
Paul Keenan, chief executive of Bauer Media UK and European radio said: “Richard brings a wealth of experience and knowledge spanning media strategy, operations and change management which will be of immense value as we accelerate the growth of Bauer Media, Europe’s leading radio and audio business”.
The move comes amid a tough environment for the BBC's radio stations, which are losing market share to commercial rivals.
BBC Radio 4 has lost 750,000 listeners over the last year, while competitors such as LBC have seen a spike in audience numbers, according to the latest figures from Rajar.
Commercial stations have also been able to entice top talent away from the broadcaster. Earlier this year BBC veteran Chris Evans took over the breakfast show on Virgin Radio, while former Radio 2 presenter Simon Mayo is moving to Bauer’s new classical station, Scala Radio, which is set to launch next month.
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Dawkins said: “It's a brilliant time to be joining Bauer Media with commercial radio thriving and digital and IP distribution offering new, exciting opportunities for innovation in audio.
“I'm really looking forward to joining the team and building on Bauer's leading position across European markets.”