Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Abrupt departures can be confusing; very abrupt departures more so. The BBC's Controller of Languages for the World Service Group, Liliane Landor, announced today that she's decided to leave, and will go on Friday. This must be some sort of record for a senior manager in the 21st Century BBC.

Odder still that she leaves as the Government decides to get back on board with the World Service, investing £289m over the next four years on additional effort aimed at Russia, Africa, The Middle East and North Korea. The investment now has project status - Project 2020.

There is probably a back story here; whatever the reason for Liliane's departure, she will be very hard to replace. She was born in Lebanon, and educated in France and Switzerland; she's British by adoption and Cuban through her mother. She speaks five languages, and worked as an interpreter in Paris and with the Council for Racial Equality in London before joining the BBC in 1980, presenting on the French Service. Thence to fronting Europe Today and The World Today before a range of editorial roles. She became Controller of Languages in 2010.

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