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Lauren Laverne joins The Big Design Challenge on Sky Arts

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Presenter Lauren Laverne
Laverne: British presenter has over twenty years’ experience working in broadcasting and the music industry.

Sky Arts is set to spotlight Britain’s best design talent with new series The Big Design Challenge, airing next year. Hosted by DJ and multi-award winning broadcaster Lauren Laverne, this new skills-based reality format will see eight top creatives battle it out over five episodes to be crowned Britain’s next design superstar.

Drawn from all corners of the UK, the competitors will put their problem-solving abilities and creative flair to the test as they face a range of weekly challenges set by a guest judge. The guest judges and challenges include Konnie Huq, presenter and children’s author, Mourad Mazouz, a restaurateur and founder of Sketch, and Maggie Aderin-Pocock, space scientist and educator, amongst other professionals.

“Design affects all of our daily lives, but the world of designers can seem a little remote from the outside – it’s been so much fun to lift the lid on that and get up close to the brilliantly creative people at its cutting edge. I can’t wait to introduce our viewers to our wonderful judges, fantastically talented designers and some extraordinary guests!”. – says Lauren Laverne.

Lauren is also joined by two expert judges, artist and designer Morag Myerscough and industrial designer Tej Chauhan, who will cast their eyes over the designers’ creations throughout the series and separate the successes from the disasters.

The designers will compete in two teams of four each week, led by a different team captain. At the end of each challenge, one team will be declared the winner, with all eight artists judged individually by Morag, Tej and the guest judge. When four challenges are complete, two finalists will be announced whose work has impressed the most over the course of the series. They’ll go on to lead the teams for the final challenge taking place at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. The winner will have the opportunity to exhibit their designs at the V&A, gaining exposure to millions of visitors and industry experts.

The Big Design Challenge is produced by Somethin’ Else TV Studio, part of 4th Floor Creative, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. The show is scheduled to premiere on Sky Arts, Freeview Channel 11, and streaming service NOW in February 2022.

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BBC World Service chief resigns amid ‘deep concern’ about cuts

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Liliane Landor portrait
Liliane Landor will step down in July after three years as Senior Controller of BBC News International Services

Liliane Landor, Senior Controller of BBC News International Services and BBC World Service Director, has decided to leave the BBC later this year, a note released by the British Broadcast Corporation informed this week.

According to multiple media outlets, Landor said she was “deeply concerned about the operational capability of the World Service if additional cuts continue to weaken it further” and has quit over amid fear that the BBC could be hit by further spending cuts. 

Liliane Landor was previously head of foreign news at Channel 4, but has spent the majority of her career at the BBC after beginning at the French Service. She went on to manage, present, and edit key areas of the BBC World Service, including a role as head of News and Current Affairs in English, before becoming Controller of Languages, where she was editorially responsible for all non-English language services on radio, TV and online.

“The whole of the BBC owes Liliane a huge debt of gratitude. She is an exceptional journalist and editor. The BBC World Service is one of the jewels in the BBC’s crown, and has flourished under her leadership,” says BBC Director-General Tim Davie.

For BBC News CEO Deborah Turness, “In a polarised world where truth is under attack, Liliane has led our BBC World Service teams with real courage. She has been a global ambassador for our powerful and important journalism, and has worked with great skill to modernise World Service output to reach digital audiences. Liliane is a person of great integrity and I will miss her wisdom very much.”

In 2022 the World Service was forced to cut 382 jobs as part of its plans to move to a digital-led service, that would save around £28.5m. 

Several media professionals shared messages of support to Landor, after learning about her decision to quit the BBC. Comms director and ex BBC news staff member, Clare Harkey tweeted:

“So sorry to hear you’re leaving @lilo11- you’ve been a force for good in very difficult times,” and TV Journalist and Executive Producer Ben de Pear, founder at Basement Films, shared on social media: “Sorry to hear this a loss – and someone who understands the present conflicts so well – good luck @lilo11 – BBC World Service director to step down.”

“Serving as Director of the BBC World Service has been an immense privilege. To have been entrusted with leading a global service relied upon by hundreds of millions worldwide is humbling and the greatest honour of my professional life,” said Liliane Landor, who will be leaving the BBC in July, 2024.

Liliane also founded the BBC’s staff network, Global Women in News, which remains high-profile and active, and launched the popular 100 Women project in 2014, being named on the list herself in 2016.

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Nimesh Kataria to join England and Wales Cricket Board as CFO

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Nimesh Kataria to join England and Wales Cricket Board as CFO
Nimesh will succeed Scott Smith, who is leaving the ECB after eight years in the role.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced Nimesh Kataria as new Chief Financial Officer.

Nimesh will join the ECB in April, and brings a wealth of experience and expertise in financial management and strategic planning. He will sit on the ECB Board.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nimesh to the ECB at an important time for our sport. His proven track record in financial management and strategic insight will be invaluable as we seek to grow cricket and become the most inclusive sport, whilst ensuring we put the game on a financially sustainable footing,” says Richard Gould, ECB Chief Executive Officer.

In his current role, Nimesh is Chief Financial Officer for WBD’s International Sports Division, overseeing Eurosport, Global Cycling Network, Discovery Sports Events and the Olympics. He also played a key role in the recent TNT Sports Joint Venture between WBD and BT. Nimesh began his career at Ernst & Young, before joining WBD.

“I am proud to be joining the ECB and hope to be able to play a part in growing cricket and helping even more people to fall in love with the sport. I’ve been a cricket fan my whole life, and while there are real challenges for the whole game in England and Wales to navigate, I’m excited by the opportunity we have to become the most inclusive sport and secure the future of cricket for future generations to play, watch and enjoy,” celebrates Nimesh Kataria.

In his new role, Nimesh will be responsible for financial reporting and business planning. His work will enable the organisation to budget effectively, control expenditure and deliver its revenue objectives. He will also lead key business services including Information and Technology and Procurement, as well as the Finance team.

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New study reveals the poorest presidents of Europe

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Nataša Pirc Musar, President of the Republic of Slovenia
Nataša Pirc Musar, head of the Republic of Slovenia, is the poorest president in Europe, study says | Photo: Matjaz Klemenc

Slovenia has the poorest president in Europe. Relative to average salaries, the presidents of Ukraine and Serbia follow closely as the second and third poorest on the continent. Across Europe, heads of state earn 4.1 times as much as the average earner and cost taxpayers €49.62 per hour. 

This is according to a new study by Slot.Day, who analysed the average gross salaries, GDP per capita and presidents’ earnings across 31 countries in Europe. The researchers used the latest available data from national statistics offices and the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), ranging between 2022 and the third quarter of 2023. GDP data is sourced from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook, published in October 2023. Head of state income estimates are based on independent media reports, national legislation, government and presidency websites, income statements and official government communication. 

Europe’s poorest president lives in Slovenia. The president earns almost as much as any average employee in the country. The head of state has an estimated gross annual income of €44,701, only 3% higher than the current average salary in Slovenia – €43,342. An hour of the president’s time costs taxpayers €23.41 before deductions – one of the top 10 cheapest hourly pays for presidents in Europe. Slovenia is a country of medium wealth, whose GDP per capita (US$32,350) is slightly below the European average of US$34,710 for 2023, according to IMF estimates. The Slovenian president’s work is worth 1.5 of the country’s GDP per capita.  

Ukraine has the second lowest-paid president in Europe, relative to other average earners in the country. Based on official government communication, the Ukrainian president’s gross annual salary in 2023 was only €8,134, which is 1.63 worth of any average earner in the country. This is the lowest pay of any president in Europe, costing Ukrainian taxpayers only €4.26 per hour, before deductions, to carry out all their duties as head of state. Ukraine’s current GDP per capita is also the lowest in Europe, estimated at €5,245 for 2023. The president earns only 70% above that. 

Serbia’s president is the third poorest in Europe. With an hourly compensation of just €10.77, before tax, the head of state earns €20,564 per year. This is worth only 1.68 of the average salary in Serbia, estimated at €12,258. Serbia’s GDP per capita is the eighth lowest in Europe (US$11,301), and the president’s salary is almost double this amount. 

The presidents of Lithuania and Montenegro earn under two average salaries in their countries, while those in Croatia and Moldova earn just above this level. Finland, Latvia and Bosnia and Herzegovina complete the top 10 poorest presidents of Europe. Finland is the only country in Slot.Day’s ranking whose GDP per capita (US$54,507) is well above the European average (US$34,710).  

Richest presidents 

The richest presidents in Europe live in Bulgaria, Slovakia and Ireland when comparing their official incomes to average salaries.  

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