Bannister tapped as chief BBC prod’n exec

He'll replace retiring Neil at helm

LONDON — Matthew Bannister, currently director of BBC Radio, has been tapped the next chief executive of BBC Production, the pubcaster’s vast TV and radio program division.

Bannister, 41, will succeed current chief exec Ron Neil, who will retire at the end of this year.

Bannister first rose to prominence as controller of Radio 1, the BBC’s pop network, when he cleared out a whole generation of older DJs and positioned the web at the heart of the British pop explosion in the mid-’90s. He has no previous TV experience.

“I have a simple ambition for BBC Production — to make it the best place in Britain for creative and talented people to work,” he said.

The BBC also announced that Mark Byford, its 40-year-old director of regional broadcasting, will become chief exec of BBC World Service, the pubcaster’s global radio arm. He replaces Sam Younger, who is leaving the corporation.

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