Damon Buffini, a Founding Partner of global investment firm Permira, is to chair the BBC’s Commercial Board, a move that reflects the corporation’s desire to generate more investment from BBC Studios, as it unveils an Annual Plan that includes targets for 25% working class representation and hints at incoming cuts.
Buffini will assume the role of producer/distributor BBC Studios, as well as overseeing all commercial activity including Studioworks’ facilities operation.
He was previously a Non Executive Director on the renamed, rejigged Board. It now includes a majority of Non-Execs who come from outside backgrounds such as financial, digital, and commercial.
The board’s main aim is to drive commercial growth and income, one of the four key pillars of BBC Director General Tim Davie’s approach since he took over 18 months ago.
Buffini is a Founding Partners of Permira, a global investment firm. He has a long history in the arts and was Governer for the Wellcome Trust.
He will assume his post on Friday with Gunjan Bhow, Gunjan Bhow, and Bhav Singh, Non-Exec Director.
Buffini said: “BBC Studios has an impressive track record for creativity and business within the creative industries and the new board arrangements are a significant step to enhancing this further, both in the UK and globally.”
This is because the BBC will take a big hit in its income from a freeze on licence fees for the next two-years, before inflation returns.
Today’s unveiling of its Annual Plan by the BBC revealed that it would provide more details about how it plans to address this freeze in May. This suggests that there could be cuts. The corporation needs to find around £1.5BN ($2BN) worth of savings over the next five years.
The Annual Plan also stated that 25% of staff must be from lower socioeconomic backgrounds by 2027. “to ensure our workforce is more representative of the audiences we serve.”
This reflects another of Davie’s key priorities, to represent the UK in its entirety, and the Annual Plan revealed a new kids show, CBBC’s Phoenix Rise, Set in a West Midlands secondary school, and filmed in that area.
The Plan stated that personalization on the BBC iPlayer, Sounds and the launch of a new BBC News App will be enhanced as the corporation continues to appeal more to younger generations.
Creative highlights over the coming year, according to the BBC, include Sally Rooney’s Conversations with friends Hugo Blick’s The English The return of Happy Valley Along with Frozen Planet II, This is the most recent natural history landmark.