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Fran Unsworth named new director of BBC News

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Fran Unsworth, the BBC's head of newsgathering, has been appointed acting director of BBC News as the corporation looks to clean house following the Newsnight controversies.

Ken MacQuarrie, the director of BBC Scotland, has reported his findings into a Newsnight report that was broadcast on November 2, 2012, which led to former Tory minister, Lord McAlpine, being wrongly accused of child abuse.

The new look BBC Broadcast house

© BBC

Helen Boaden

© BBC



BBC News director Helen Boaden is to step aside while the Pollard Review is conducted into the decision to drop a separate Newsnight report into sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile. Her deputy Steve Mitchell will do the same.

Neither Boaden or Mitchell were involved in the decision-making chain that led to Newsnight's controversial November 2 report being broadcast.

They had removed themselves from the decision making process on some areas of BBC News output while the Pollard review runs.

But to address the "lack of clarity around the editorial chain of command", MacQuarrie has taken the decision to re-establish a single management to deal with all output, "Savile-related or otherwise".

Boaden will be replaced by Unsworth as director of news, while Ceri Thomas - the editor of Radio 4's Today programme - will act on a temporary basis as deputy director in place of Mitchell.

In other changes intended to "address pressure on the Newsnight team", MacQuarrie has said that Karen O'Connor will take on the role of acting editor of Newsnight.

Former editor Peter Rippon has "stepped aside" from the role while the Pollard review is conducted.

MacQuarrie said that consideration is now being given to "which individuals should be asked to account further for their actions and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken".

The reshuffle of BBC News follows the shock resignation of BBC director general George Entwistle at the weekend after just 53 days in the job.

There has been further controversy after it emerged that the former director of BBC Vision will get a £450,000 payoff from the BBC, representing a year's salary.

John Whittingdale, Tory chairman of the commons culture committee, has said that he wants to ask the BBC Trust why it views such a payment as "appropriate".

He said: "A lot of people would be very surprised that somebody who was in the job for such a short period of time and then had to leave in these circumstances should be walking away with £450,000 of licence fee-payers' money."

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