September 6, 2023
In the week of her 40th anniversary working at the BBC, the first female Director of BBC Sport, Barbara Slater, has announced that she will be retiring from the BBC in spring 2024.
Slater has transformed BBC Sport during her 14 years in the role. She has changed attitudes and increased the profile and interest of women’s sport, cemented the BBC as one of the most popular sports broadcaster in the UK and delivered growth and evolution of BBC Sport’s digital services. In addition, Slater brought the FA Cup and cricket back to BBC television and has overseen the production of many Crown Jewel sporting events which includes 14 Men’s and Women’s Football World Cups and European Championships, seven summer and Winter Olympic Games, including London 2012 plus Wimbledon, the Six Nations and Match of the Day and she has future-proofed live sport on the BBC with a long-term rights legacy in place.
Slater joined the BBC 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. After promotions to roles including Head of Production and then Head of General Sports, she was appointed to Director of Sport in April 2009.
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.
Tim Davie, Director-General, commented: “Barbara has had an extraordinary career at the BBC – a pioneer, innovator and outstanding leader – she has kept the BBC at the forefront of sport for a generation. I wish her well. She will leave the BBC with a tremendous legacy.”
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. Barbara leaves BBC Sport in fantastic health with major rights deals agreed with Wimbledon up to and including 2027, the UEFA Men’s football European Championships in 2028, the Olympics up to 2032, Champions League and a bold strategy in place for how we bring these incredible sporting moments to audiences across TV, Sounds, iPlayer and the website. I will really miss working with her but wish her all the best for whatever the future holds.”