New RTE Director General Kevin Bakhurst says broadcaster ‘faces huge challenges’

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Irish national broadcaster RTE has appointed Kevin Bakhurst as its next Director General following an “extensive and competitive recruitment process”.

He will replace Dee Forbes in the role when her term comes to an end on July 11 this year.

Mr Bakhurst was previously managing director of news and current affairs at RTE and deputy Director General from September 2012 to October 2016.

He was also a member of the RTE Executive throughout this period and served as acting Director General for a six-month period.

“RTE plays a central role in Irish life and has brilliant people dedicated to delivering great and trusted content for audiences.

“RTE faces huge challenges and global competition, and I am confident we can deliver the ambitious change needed to remain valued and relevant to our audiences. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Prior to re-joining RTE, Mr Bakhurst was group director, broadcasting and online at Ofcom, where he was a member of the UK regulator’s board.

RTE said his responsibilities there included setting broadcast strategy and policy for UK broadcasting regulation, creating and implementing the framework for regulating the BBC, enforcing and developing editorial standards for UK broadcasters and leading work on the future of UK Public Service Broadcasting which has led directly to new government legislation.

It said Mr Bakhurst has led Ofcom’s work on the UK’s new Online Safety Policy and built a team of around 350 to deliver it, including a new data and technology team, and in the process shaping the overall transformation of Ofcom to take on the new duties.

Between 2006 and 2012, he held a range of senior editorial positions at the BBC, including Controller, BBC News Channel and Deputy Head, BBC Newsroom from 2005. He was also a member of the BBC’s London 2012 Olympics Steering Committee.

RTE said Mr Bakhurst will be required to take the organisation “forward in a rapidly evolving media landscape”, while ensuring RTE’s “valued place in public life in Ireland”.

“The appointment follows a competitive recruitment process, with Kevin as the unanimous choice of the RTE Board.

“Kevin brings an exceptional breadth of industry experience, great leadership skills and a passionate commitment to the development of public service broadcasting in all its forms.

“Kevin’s appointment comes at time of opportunity and change for RTE.

“With my fellow board members, I look forward to working with Kevin in our shared commitment to a thriving and financially sustainable RTE.”

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