Jana Bennett exits BBC Worldwide amid restructure

Jana Bennett (pictured), BBC Worldwide's president of worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer, is leaving the company later this year, after it today unveiled a major reorganization.
June 22, 2012

Jana Bennett (pictured), BBC Worldwide’s president of worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer, is leaving the company this autumn, after it today unveiled a major reorganization.

Bennett’s exit comes as BBC Worldwide (BBCWW), a wholly owned commercial subsidiary of UK public broadcaster the BBC, restructures in a bid to increase its focus on international market. The shake-up, which will take effect on October 1, will see the business reconfigured from divisional to geographic lines of management.

Its existing structure, primarily based around five global divisions, will cease to exist, and P&L ownership and primary commercial accountability will instead move across seven geographic regions: North America; UK; Australia/New Zealand; Western Europe; Asia; Latin America; and CEEMEA (Central and Eastern Europe; the Middle East and Africa).

At the same time, BBCWW is creating new global roles “to establish strong direction and consistency around content, editorial, brands, sales and digital,” the company said.

In a statement, Bennett offered that her time with BBCWW had been “exciting and stimulating.”

“Today’s announcement about the new organization of BBC Worldwide, with regions in future holding P&L responsibility, is an important step in securing the future growth of BBC Worldwide enabling it to compete more effectively in the global market and deliver increasing returns to the BBC,” she added.

“I was pleased to have played a significant role in the organizational design process and fully support the changes under John Smith’s leadership. However, with the move of P&L responsibility under the new structure I feel this is a good moment for me to work outside BBC Worldwide.”

BBCWW’s increased focus on geographic markets will be managed by three newly created positions of accountability across sales, brands and content globally: A chief sales officer will be responsible for global B2B customer relationships and fulfillment, including advertising sales; while a chief brands officer will be responsible for the commercialization of BBCWW’s flagship channel and program brands.

In addition, there will be a third area of accountability for content. “This area will drive the creative and commercial vision for BBCWW’s content strategy and will cover BBCWW’s content and IP acquisition activity, channels curation and editorial standards,” the company explained. “Scoping the dimensions of this accountability will form part of the next stage of work on our organizational design.”

Under the new structure, all seven regions will now report into four presidents, all of whom will report to BBCWW CEO John Smith and sit on the BBCWW executive committee.

Asia, Latin America and CEEMEA will form one grouping, under a High Growth Markets Group, enabling “a single overview of investment opportunities across many of the world’s most rapidly growing markets,” where BBCWW intends to establish a major presence.

UK and Australia/New Zealand, both English-language markets, will also report into a single president; while Western Europe, where TV sales and distribution today form the largest single part of BBCWW’s business, will report to the chief sales officer.

U.S. and Canada will continue to report into the president of BBCWW North America, Herb Scannell.

In a statement, Smith said: “The new organization is designed to help us capture untapped opportunities for high quality British content and BBC branded services across the world, in order to sustain our track record of strong growth into the future.

“It has been worked out over a number of months, with inputs from across the world, and throughout our company. I believe it will accelerate delivery of our global ambition, and help us drive future growth and returns to the BBC, supplementing the license fee.”

He added of Bennett’s departure: “She has extended our channels internationally, driven schedule changes which have translated into ratings and advertising uplifts, and moved forward our digital offer across several platforms.

“She has also secured some important market entries in Latin America, Asia and EMEA, which will form the cornerstone of our future business there. I am sorry to lose someone of her caliber, as we refocus our business on regional opportunities, but I am grateful she will remain with us for a time to deliver a number of strategically important projects across the world.”

The new BBCWW executive committee, effective October 1, will consist of:

John Smith – CEO
Philip Vincent – chief financial officer
Herb Scannell – president of BBCWW North America
Paul Dempsey – president of BBCWW High Growth Markets
Marcus Arthur – president of BBCWW UK & Australia/New Zealand
Steve Macallister – chief sales officer and president of BBCWW Western Europe
Daniel Heaf – chief digital officer
Deborah Rowland – people director
David Moody – director of strategy
Martyn Freeman – general counsel
Charlotte Elston – director of communications

The company will appoint a chief brands officer in due course, and will created a new role bringing together content creation, acquisition and channels curation.

Until finalized, Helen Jackson will continue in her role as MD of content and production, having previously held the post of BBCWW’s director of independents.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.