BBC Studios Productions CEO Ralph Lee to step down after six years

Ralph Lee

BBC Studios Productions’ CEO, Ralph Lee, is leaving the BBC’s commercial arm in April after almost six years with the business.

Lee became director of content in 2018 and took up his current role in 2022, when the company overhauled its operations by creating a single division for its scripted, factual, global entertainment and kids & family productions.

He led talent relationships and content investment, as well as taking on oversight of BBCS’s production labels and its investments in indies such as House Productions, Lookout Point, Clerkenwell, Voltage TV, Sid Gentle Films and Firebird Pictures.

Planet Earth III

The job also entailed oversight of BBCS’s international production operations in the US, France, India, Australia, and the Nordics.

His next move is not clear, while BBCS has initiated a search for Lee’s successor.

BBC Studios’ Lee to ‘explore other opportunities’

Lee joined BBCS having been Channel 4’s deputy chief creative officer and has worked on shows ranging from Strictly Come Dancing and Happy Valley 3, to Doctor Who, Prehistoric Planet and Planet Earth III.

Lee said: “It’s been an absolute privilege to lead BBC Studios Productions for six fulfilling years, however, after an incredibly busy but hugely successful 2023, I started to think about what was next for me professionally.

Doctor Who

“As hard as it is to leave such an inspiring business and colleagues who are pioneers in their respective creative and craft fields, I feel now is the right time to explore other opportunities. I’d like to thank all the fantastic production teams across BBC Studios for making this such an enriching and rewarding experience.”

Tom Fussell, CEO at BBCS, added: “Ralph’s leadership has been a gamechanger for our production business, taking BBC Studios to creative and award-winning heights in every genre, both domestically and internationally.

“His calm stewardship through and out of the Covid pandemic was invaluable and he’s attracted outstanding talent like Kate Ward, Rich Knight and Cecilia Persson to our organisation, whilst overseeing global expansion and growth among our production units, labels and invested indies.

“However, it’s the deeply personal approach and investment Ralph’s brought to our programme-making culture that will best sum up his legacy here. I want to thank him enormously for his contributions and wish him the best of luck in his next adventure.”

BBCS Productions said its third-party commissions had grown to account for almost 40% of BBCS’s total productions since Lee’s appointment, while the division remains the single biggest supplier of content to the BBC.

He also introduced management scheme ‘The Pledge’ across all BBCS productions, designed to empower senior leaders to take responsibility for behaviour on their sets and to provide clarity and support its teams.

Lee was also behind the creation of an ‘Inclusion Rider’, committing BBCS Productions to a minimum target of 20% of its teams on all new BBC and third-party UK commissions coming from a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic background, having a lived experience of a disability, or being from a low-income background.

Tags: BBC Studios

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