BBC PR boss Paul Mylrea to leave

Paul Mylrea Paul Mylrea to leave later this year

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The BBC's public relations boss Paul Mylrea will leave the corporation later this year.

The announcement follows the appointment of James Purnell as director of strategy and digital, which includes responsibility for the BBC's public affairs & communications.

Mylrea joined the BBC as communications director in 2010, although his job title was changed to public affairs director last autumn during George Entwistle's brief tenure as director general.

His responsibilities include the BBC's communications strategy and media relations, which will fall under Purnell's remit when he joins on March 20.

In an email to colleagues, Mylrea wrote he was 'delighted' at Purnell's appointment, especially as it involved a place on the BBC's executive board.

'This is a clear signal of the importance Tony Hall places on engaging with our audiences and external stakeholdersā€¦ I have for some time been clear that the role of Director of Public Affairs needs to change as part of the drive for more integrated external engagement.'

'Debt of gratitude'

Mylrea, who used to be a Reuters journalist, will work with Purnell and incoming director general Tony Hall until he leaves later this year.

Before joining the BBC, he was communications director at the Department for International Development.

He was also director of media relations at Transport for London, where he led communications around the 2005 bomb attacks, and head of media at Oxfam.

Mylrea said: 'It has been an enormous privilege to lead the BBC's incredibly talented team of communications professionals and to serve as a member of the BBC's senior management team.

'The communications team have shown immense dedication and commitment, particularly during the recent period, and I owe them a debt of gratitude.'

Purnell, who will meet communications staff on Friday afternoon, will earn a total salary of Ā£295,000.

He returns to the BBC where he was head of corporate planning in 1995-97. He then became a special advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair and a Labour MP in 2001.

He was also culture secretary in 2007-8, followed by a spell as work and pensions secretary, but he quit the Labour cabinet in 2009 after calling for Gordon Brown to resign as prime minister.

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