June Sarpong appointed BBC’s director of diversity

Sarpong becomes BBC’s director of diversity

TV presenter and campaigner June Sarpong has been appointed the BBC's first director of creative diversity.

Sarpong is known for appearing on Channel 4's youth strand T4, Loose Women and Sky News.

Sarpong said: "I relish the challenge of working with senior leadership to make the BBC more inclusive and representative of the broad and diverse audience it serves."

Sarpong, who has also written two books on diversity issues and been a prominent advocate for change in the media and beyond.

Director general Tony Hall said she would have "a wide remit to deliver change".

Lord Hall said she would "provide expertise on all on-air diversity matters" and would attend the corporation's executive committee.

He said: "While we have made significant progress on diversity, we also have to accept that the BBC has much further to go. June's drive, ambition and knowhow will help further transform the BBC's programming to ensure that we truly reflect the public we serve."

The day before her appointment, internal concerns were raised about the wider representation of staff from minority backgrounds at the organisation.

Sarpong began her career at MTV. She then worked for Channel 4’s youth strand. She helped launch the campaign for a remain vote in the 2016 EU referendum and has campaigned on a number of diversity issues for many years.

She was made an MBE in 2007 for services to broadcasting and charity. In 2017, she published her book Diversify, followed by The Power of Women last year.

Sarpong's appointment follows the departure in March of the corporation's head of diversity, inclusion and succession Tunde Ogungbesan. His role has been split in two - director of creative diversity and head of workforce diversity and inclusion.

She will work for the BBC three days a week on an initial two-year contract. As part of this, Sarpong will attend the BBC’s executive committee – the current members of which signed a public letter last week backing the original ruling against Munchetty.

Sarpong has been allowed to continue as a panellist on opinion programmes such as Sky News’s The Pledge and ITV’s Loose Women. This will allow her to broadcast her opinions on topics of public interest without being bound by the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

As well as presenting, she co-founded the Women - Inspiration and Enterprise (WIE) Alliance and the Decide Act Now summit.

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