James has strategic, editorial and budgetary responsibility across the BBC’s arts, children’s, education, music and network radio output
He also leads the BBC’s partnership activity and the development of BBC Ideas
James represents the Radio & Education division on the BBC Executive Committee
James first worked at the BBC in the 1990s, as Head of Corporate Planning. He had previously been a research fellow on IPPR's media project, and before that was a strategy consultant in media and telecommunications at Hydra Associates.
He left the BBC to be Special Adviser on the Knowledge Economy, including Internet and broadcasting policy, to Tony Blair after he became Prime Minister.
He was elected Member of Parliament for Stalybridge and Hyde, before becoming Secretary of State for Culture and then for Work and Pensions. He resigned from the government in June 2009, and stood down from Parliament at the 2010 Election.
James then held roles as a Senior Producer at Rare Day, an independent production company and an adviser to the Boston Consulting Group.
James returned to the BBC in 2013 as Director of Strategy and Digital, where he was responsible for developing the BBC’s strategy in the run up to Charter Review.
He took up the role of Director of Radio & Education in October 2016.
Salary and total remuneration
Total remuneration: £295,000
This information is correct as of March 2017.
Expenses and central bookings
Expenses are costs incurred by BBC staff on behalf of the BBC and claimed through the BBC's expenses system (e-expenses). Central bookings are costs incurred on behalf of the BBC and booked through the BBC's central bookings system. Both expenses and central bookings are published every three months.
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James Purnell had no e-expenses paid in Q4 2016-17
James Purnell had no gifts or hospitality to declare in Q4 2012-13
Declaration of personal interests
Staff must make a declaration of their personal and business interests, including any memberships or directorships of public or industry bodies, and any shareholdings, as well as any interests that their immediate families may also have.
A summary is published where there is something to declare and where there is nothing to declare. Occasionally an individual will have something to declare but due to the personal nature of the declaration we do not publish details as to do so would breach the Data Protection Act.
This information is published annually, although if any amendments are made during the year an updated summary will be published if necessary as soon as it is available.