Wednesday 10 February 2021 4:53 pm

BBC makes editorial director Kamal Ahmed redundant in board overhaul

The BBC has made editorial director Kamal Ahmed redundant in a major overhaul of its leadership that has also left the corporation in breach of its own diversity rules.

Fran Unsworth, director of BBC News, today said the number of board members will be cut from 11 to eight as part of plans to “modernise” the broadcaster’s news output.

The changes mean Ahmed, former economics editor who was made editorial director in 2018, has been made redundant, alongside head of news output Gavin Allen and head of current affairs Jo Carr.

Ahmed, who was paid more than £200,000 as editorial director, was last year forced to pay back £12,000 in fees he received for speaking at a hedge fund conference following a backlash from colleagues.

Head of newsgathering Jonathan Munro and director of the BBC World Service Jamie Angus also had their roles cut in the reforms but have been kept on in new positions.

The changes mean the BBC News board temporarily has no non-white members, despite a policy introduced in 2019 stating all senior leadership groups should have at least two staff members from minority ethnic backgrounds.

However, the public service broadcaster said the lack of diversity was temporary as two roles on the board remained available.

The overhaul marks the latest efforts by the BBC to adapt its news output in response to changing viewer habits and a squeeze on finances.

The corporation has announced plans to cut roughly 520 roles from its news division, with flagship shows such as the Today programme.

In a report published last week the BBC said it was on track to make cost savings of £958m by the end of March next year, but said it was running out of ways to save money through back-office cuts and would have to wield the axe on programming.