BBC Future Media & Technology Director, Erik Huggers, to Head Up Intel's Digital Home Group

--BBC to Reorganize FM&T into Separate Technology and Future Media Divisions

Erik Huggers, the Dutch-born former Microsoft and Endemol executive who has served as director of the BBC's Future Media & Technology division since August, 2008 (prior to that, he served as its group controller--for more background on Huggers, see the article published on, August 8th, 2008), is leaving the corporation to become corporate VP and general manager of Intel's Silicon Valley-based Digital Home Group. Huggers, who replaces interim general manager, Brad Daniels, will also sit on Intel's Management Committee. "Erik Huggers' proven track record of managing a variety of digital media businesses will be an extraordinary asset to Intel's digital home initiative," Intel president and CEO, Paul Otellini, said in a prepared statement. "Erik's background and vision for delivering new platforms, interactive content and services to consumers are an outstanding fit for Intel, and I am thrilled to welcome such a talented person to drive this key strategic business for Intel. We look forward to him joining our team."

According to the BBC, under Huggers' leadership, its Future Media & Technology arm has "helped to re-establish the BBC's strength in technology, changed perceptions of the BBC as an innovator and, as a result, has strengthened our relationship with the public." During his tenure, the corporation says, BBC Red Button, BBC Online and BBC Mobile have seen exceptional growth, while usage of the BBC iPlayer has increased significantly--last month resulting in a record 145 million TV and radio program views across 60 different kinds of device.

Despite the success it claims for the FM&T division, the BBC, which is in the midst of a major cost-cutting push, says that it has decided to reorganize it into two new groups, with the reorg taking effect March 1st:

  • A Technology division, which will be headed up by CTO, John Linwood (who previously led the BBC's Broadcast and Enterprise Technology Group), will be tasked with "delivering the BBC's digital needs in terms of production, broadcast, connectivity and enterprise support." The division will be part of the Operations Group, which is under the overall leadership of COO, Caroline Thomson. As CTO, Linwood will sit on the BBC Direction Group (BDG).
  • A Future Media division, which will be headed up by Ralph Rivera, will focus on developing and delivering digital products and services, such as the BBC iPlayer. BBC Research & Development will report to Rivera, who will sit on the BBC's Executive Board.

BBC director-general, Mark Thompson, announced Huggers' departure and the corporation's decision to reorganize the FM&T division in an email sent to all BBC staff. An excerpt from the email follows: "Erik is the key architect for a radical refocusing of BBC Online as part of our proposals for Delivering Quality First, which we will be announcing in due course. He also presided over significant technology projects such as W1, BBC North and Fabric and has chaired the YouView consortia to the point where it was incorporated as a joint venture. He has been a dynamic and inspiring colleague and I wish him all the best with his new role at Intel.

"Following Erik's departure we have decided, in part following conversations within the division, to reorganize the Future Media & Technology area into two more distinct areas--the development of our digital services to the public such as BBC iPlayer (Future Media) and the core, underlying technology which powers the BBC (Technology). And so rather than replacing Erik with a new Director of FM&T, I have asked two of Erik's direct reports to step up.

"As Chief Technology Officer (CTO), John Linwood will head up a new Technology division which will be responsible for delivering the BBC's digital needs in terms of production, broadcast, connectivity and enterprise support. He will continue to be responsible for Information & Archives. The division will be part of the Operations Group under the overall leadership of the Chief Operating Officer, Caroline Thomson. As CTO, John will sit on the BBC Direction Group (BDG).

"John has done an outstanding job over the past 18 months in leading the Broadcast and Enterprise Technology Group at the BBC and driving projects like W1, BBC North and Fabric to successful implementation. I believe that giving John leadership of a separate Technology division and a seat on BDG will help him take the digital transformation of the BBC to the next level.

"I am also appointing Ralph Rivera as Director of Future Media, a division which will focus on developing and delivering digital products and services. The Future Media side of FM&T also has many recent successes to its name, including BBC iPlayer. It too faces immense challenges as the pace of digital change quickens, and we strive to meet our audiences' changing needs. For that reason, Ralph will be a member of the Executive Board where we can continue the critical conversations with both executive and non-executive directors about how the BBC meets the consumer challenges we face in a converged, fully digital world. BBC Research & Development, led by Matthew Postgate, will report in to Ralph’s division though it will continue to partner with the broader BBC and industry.

"These changes are effective from March 1, 2011. Please join me in congratulating John and Ralph on their new roles, and thanking Erik for everything he has done for the BBC over the past few years."