BBC Sport director Barbara Slater to retire


Barbara Slater

BBC Sport director Barbara Slater is to retire from the BBC after 40 years at the UK broadcaster and 14 years in the role.

Slater who became the the first female director at the BBC is to step down from her post by spring next year.

The sport exec first joined the broadcaster in 1983 as a trainee assistant producer in the natural history unit before moving into BBC Sport, specialising in outside broadcasts and overseeing the production of a range of sports including tennis and golf.

Prior to being promoted to director, she served as BBC Sports’ head of production and then head of general sports.

During her tenure, Slater played an instrumental role in growing the coverage and profile of women’s sport at the broadcaster. She was behind the return of the FA Cup and cricket to the BBC. She also oversaw many prestigious sporting events and shows including Football World Cups, European Championships, Olympic Games, Wimbledon, the Six Nations and Match of the Day.

Commenting on her departure, Slater said: “It was this week 40 years ago that I first walked through the doors at Broadcasting House. A career in BBC Sport has been an absolute passion, never just a job. Since joining in 1983 I’ve been privileged to have had such amazing opportunities and the delight of working with such talented colleagues and partners. There are a huge number of people to thank, and so many magical memories to reflect upon.

From being in the director’s chair for occasions like Pete Sampras’ 7th Wimbledon triumph, to leading the move to Salford, seeing the extraordinary growth of our digital services and new talent excel. I also hope that in showcasing the brilliance of women’s sport the BBC has played its part in changing attitudes, increasing its profile and inspiring the next generation. I must also make special mention of the Olympic Games having been a competitor in 1976 and then leading the sport teams covering a home Games in 2012. It was a monumental achievement for the BBC and everyone involved, as the UK hosted a sensational Olympics in London. I will be following the BBC’s coverage of Paris next summer – this time as a proud sports fan.”

Tim Davie, BBC director-general praised Slater’s work at the BBC and called her a “pioneer, innovator and outstanding leader” who has “kept the BBC at the forefront of sport for a generation.”

Charlotte Moore, chief content officer, added: “Barbara has had an extraordinary career at the BBC and leaves a legacy few will ever be able to replicate. She is a much-respected leader, a real trailblazer for women in the industry who can proudly say she has inspired the next generation.

Barbara has been at the helm for some of the most memorable sporting moments and brought the nation together in their millions. She has tirelessly driven BBC Sport forward in the face of an ever-competitive landscape. She is a passionate advocate of listed events and free-to-air sport and her commitment to increasing the profile of women’s sport in this country has been unrelenting.”

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