BBC News director James Harding to stand down
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BBC News director James Harding to stand down

Former Times editor will step aside at the end of the year in order to set up his own company

James Harding
James Harding

BBC News director James Harding is to stand down at the end of the year, in order to set up his own company.

Harding, a former Times editor whose role covers news and current affairs at the BBC, had been considered a frontrunner to take over as the BBC’s director-general from Tony Hall.

Hall said Harding was leaving a “great legacy” as head of news, after appointing the corporation’s first female political editor, launching the Beeb’s popular Reality Check fact-checking service, and securing government funding for the World Service.

Harding grew up in north-west London, the grandson of a German Jewish refugee, at first working at the Financial Times, then at The Times, where he later became the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadsheet’s first Jewish editor.

Last month he took part in the Board of Deputies’ annual dinner, interviewing Scottish Opposition leader Ruth Davidson, who has been mooted as a possible future Tory leader.

In a note to staff this week, Harding wrote: “There is some journalism that the BBC, for all its brilliance, can’t, and probably shouldn’t, do. And that’s what I want to explore.

“I am going to start a new media company with a distinct approach to the news and a clear point of view… I’m seriously excited about the prospect of building a new venture in news.”

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