Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
The BBC has appointed Donald Steel, currently the Corporation's Head of Press, as Chief Communications Adviser.
Reporting to Ed Williams, Director of Communications, Donald will provide strategic counsel and support on communications issues, including advising on the BBC's response during times of reputational crisis.
In addition he will work with the Corporation's senior communicators on the positioning and handling of major announcements.
He has also been appointed as the first Associate Fellow of the BBC Academy.
He will work with senior managers within the Corporation to develop their effectiveness in dealing with the media and external communications skills, and will also develop a new curriculum of professional training for communications staff.
Announcing the appointment, Ed Williams said: "Donald has been a key fixture of communications at the BBC for many years and has a phenomenal reputation both within the BBC and externally.
"He has provided wise counsel to the BBC's executives over many years, and has led the BBC's response to many significant moments in its recent history.
"I am looking forward to working closely with him as we implement the changes to BBC Communications that I recently announced."
Donald Steel said: "I am very pleased to be asked to develop my contribution in this strategic and influential way.
"I believe the BBC has one of the strongest communications and publicity teams in the business, and I look forward to supporting them as we move forward together under Ed Williams' leadership."
Donald Steel has been Head of Press and previously Chief Press Officer, since 1999, and leads the BBC's central press office team.
In his present role he has managed the media response to some of the most challenging stories of the last decade, from the murder of the TV presenter Jill Dando, a terrorist bomb attack on the Corporation's Television Centre in West London, the Hutton Inquiry over the death of the Government scientist Dr David Kelly – which led to the resignations of the BBC's Chairman and Director-General – to the launch of Freeview.
He has held a variety of communications roles within the BBC ranging from leading communications at BBC Production, the BBC's programme-making arm, managing BBC Pebble Mill's press department, publicist for The Archers and a secondment to Jerusalem to work on the Eurovision Song Contest with the Israeli Broadcasting Authority.
He was previously a producer and presenter in BBC Local Radio, and began his broadcasting career in commercial radio in Dundee after 10 years in the National Health Service.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a regular speaker on the topics of reputation and crisis management in Britain and abroad.
He will begin some of his new duties immediately but will remain in his current post while a successor is found.
BBC Press Office
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