BBC World Service director to step down

The director of the BBC’s World Service Group, Peter Horrocks, is due to step down in 2015 after 33 years at the BBC, where he started as a news trainee.

Horrocks has been director of the World Service since 2009, overseeing BBC World News TV, the BBC’s international news site, multimedia services in 28 languages and World Service English radio.

Under his leadership, weekly audiences for the BBC’s global news services – BBC World Service, BBC World News and – reached a record 265m, despite the World Service facing funding cuts in recent years.

In what the BBC described as some of its “most challenging times”, the World Service’s funding shifted from Foreign and Commonwealth Office responsibility to being funded by the licence fee and moved London headquarters from Bush House to the BBC’s New Broadcasting House.

“The World Service now has its largest ever audience, an expanding number of languages, and is modernised and transformed for a digital age,” said Horrocks.

“Having overseen this recovery and taken the World Service into the new era of licence fee funding, it is time for me to move on to my next challenge.”

Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, James Harding, paid tribute to Horrocks, describing him as a “defining figure in the modern history of the BBC World Service and global news.”

The BBC said it would advertise for Horrocks’ successor as director, World Service Group.