BAL SAMRA will step down as the BBC‘s group commercial director in 2021 after a successful career spanning three decades, the broadcaster said.
Before leaving, he will lead some important commercial projects in BBC Studios.
A ‘pioneer for change’, Samra has been central to the BBC‘s transformation, driving the delivery of a number of audience services from BBC News online, to BBC iPlayer and most recently BritBox.
He started his career in the 1990s with current affairs and a string of innovative launches including BBC News Online, News 24 and Radio 5 Live, according to a statement.
Before moving into the current role, he had spent over a decade in TV leading major transformations.
Tim Davie, director general of the BBC, said: “Bal has made a significant mark on our industry and on the BBC, connecting creativity to business opportunities for the benefit of audiences. His commercial acumen and skill are widely-recognised and respected across the broadcasting industry. We wish Bal all the very best with his future and thank him for his outstanding contribution to the BBC.”
As managing director of BBC Television, Samra re-designed the whole business to introduce more competition for creative ideas, developing more production out of London, and working closely with chief creative officer Charlotte Moore to help improve on screen diversity in TV.
He has established international partnerships and joint ventures and wrote the blueprint to create BBC Studios Production and has consistently overseen record commercial investment growth, the BBC said.
‘’The time for my next big adventure is now. I’ve a number of ideas to develop in the coming months. Needless to say, I’ve had an amazing and inspiring time at the BBC and will always be grateful for the opportunities and support it gave me,” said Samra.
“Bringing creative and business together has allowed the UK to be the envy of the broadcasting world, by leading the commercial partnerships with our brilliant talent and producers I’ve been able to play my part in helping the creative sector thrive and grow.”
Samra is a board member of the National Film & Television School and Ormiston Academies Trust. He also sits on the commercial committee at BAFTA and chairs an industry fund for investment in immersive storytelling.