Tuesday 21 November 2017

RTE deputy director general Kevin Bakhurst to leave broadcaster

Kevin Bakhurst
Kevin Bakhurst
RTÉ’S deputy director-general Kevin Bakhurst. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kevin Bakhurst Photo: RTE
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

RTÉ deputy director general Kevin Bakhurst is to leave the State broadcaster to become content group director for Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK.

Mr Bakhurst joined RTÉ four years ago as managing director of its news and current affairs division, prior to being appointed to deputy director general.

Following the departure of Noel Curran Mr Bakhurst served as acting director general before the appointment of Dee Forbes.

It is understood he was an unsuccessful candidate for the director general role.

During his time as MD of news and current affairs, Mr Bakhurst led the division during the creation and development of the RTÉ Investigations Unit.

Prior to joining RTÉ he was deputy head of the BBC Newsroom.

Speaking about his departure Mr Bakhurst praised a "wonderful" four years at the station.

"I am in particular immensely proud of the recent coverage of the General Election and the RTÉ 1916 commemorations; of the range of investigations we have carried out; but also of the fair, thoughtful and engaging reporting of stories day-in, day-out.

"It has been an absolute privilege to work for the national broadcaster during a time of change and renewal and I wish Dee Forbes and the whole organisation the very best for the years to come. I also wish the very best to the rest of Ireland's vibrant media who play a crucial role during challenging times."

RTÉ director-general Dee Forbes said: “Kevin Bakhurst has led RTÉ News & Current Affairs decisively through a period of intense change and development, and his contribution, inside the newsroom, and beyond, has been significant. I’d like to warmly congratulate Kevin on this new role and wish him the very best for the future.”

When asked about being overlooked for the job of RTÉ's Director General, Mr Brackhurst told RTÉ's News at One that this did not influence his decision to leave. 

He said: "This didn't influence my decision. I went for that position and Dee is there now. I've been working very closely with Dee and she has got a real vision for the organisation. I would have been delighted to carry on working with her. That wasn't a factor, what was a factor was when these big jobs come up you have to give them serious consideration."

He also put emphasis on the importance of public funding, when adding: "Public funding needs to be addressed and if Ireland is to continue having a powerful and important national broadcaster that is certainly something people should be turning their attention to."

Mr Brakhurst's departure follows other high-profile exits from former RTÉ TV MD Glen Killane, who moved to Eir, and ex-RTÉ2 channel controller Bill Malone, who switched to TV3.

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