BBC Creative Diversity Director Joanna Abeyie to Exit (EXCLUSIVE) |

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The BBC’s caput of imaginative diversity, Joanna Abeyie, is stepping down aft little than a twelvemonth and a half successful nan role, Variety tin reveal.

Abeyie is leaving nan broadcaster to return to her consultancy business, Blue Moon, which specializes successful diverseness and inclusion, and executive recruitment. Variety understands that she whitethorn consult for nan BBC successful nan future.

Sources bespeak that Abeyie’s departure was first announced by BBC head of contented Charlotte Moore connected June 22. Her past time successful nan domiciled is Monday (July 3). When her exit was revealed to her squad by nan BBC’s group head of diverseness and inclusion Chinny Okolidoh, it’s believed a number of unit protested why Abeyie, a well-liked exec pinch a beardown rapport pinch nan group, had been allowed to time off nan nationalist broadcaster. However, Variety understands that her departure reflects nan exec’s prime to return to her business, which she group up successful 2018.

Abeyie was appointed arsenic interim caput of imaginative diverseness successful April 2022 and was made imperishable successful October. She replaced June Sarpong, who spearheaded nan domiciled for 2 and a half years, and oversaw nan BBC’s first Creative Diversity Report successful 2020.

Abeyie reported into Okolidoh — who joined nan BBC successful November — and besides worked intimately pinch Moore and head of nations Rhodri Talfan-Davies.

“This is simply a strategically important domiciled and Joanna will beryllium an master partner who will thrust champion believe and thief fulfil nan BBC’s Creative Diversity Strategy,” said group main operating serviceman Leigh Tavaziva and Moore successful October, welcoming Abeyie permanently to nan role. “She will support commissioners pinch editorial decisions arsenic good arsenic leaders crossed nan organisation to amended diverseness and inclusion connected and disconnected screen/air.”

In a missive to unit (read nan afloat statement below), Okolidoh said she will soon name an interim caput of imaginative diversity, and nan domiciled will beryllium advertised successful owed course.

Abeyie’s departure will beryllium a daze to nan manufacture fixed her short tenure astatine nan broadcaster. The turnover besides intends that her replacement will beryllium nan 3rd imaginative diverseness leader astatine nan BBC successful 2 years.

The BBC presently has 2 published diverseness plans successful place: nan Creative Diversity Report, which was published successful 2020, and nan BBC Workforce Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, which runs from 2021 to 2023.

Abeyie was moving connected nan adjacent version of nan Creative Diversity Report, which pertains to on-air practice and production. It’s believed she was conceiving of caller measurements for imaginative diversity. In July 2022, a long-awaited update from nan BBC connected nan advancement of nan 2020 Creative Diversity money to amended divers contented connected nan nationalist broadcaster received disapproval from sceptics who questioned its criteria and really overmuch of its £44 cardinal ($58 million) walk successful nan first twelvemonth of nan inaugural had gone towards caller commissions.

Meanwhile, nan BBC’s adjacent loop of nan Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, which is abstracted to nan Creative Diversity Report, will beryllium released early adjacent year, Variety understands.

Abeyie’s exit comes amid a raft of elder diverseness and inclusion leaders — each of whom look to beryllium Black women — leaving apical jobs successful nan media, peculiarly successful nan U.S.

As reported by Variety past week, Jeanell English, executive VP of effect and inclusion, is exiting her domiciled astatine nan Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences aft little than a year. Meanwhile, complete astatine Warner Bros. Discovery, Karen Horne, a diversity, equity and inclusion executive, has been laid disconnected arsenic portion of a reorganization of nan division.

Disney’s main diverseness serviceman and elder VP Latondra Newton is besides exiting her role aft six years, while astatine Netflix, Vernā Myers is stepping down from her domiciled arsenic caput of inclusion strategy aft 5 years.

Variety past twelvemonth reported connected an exodus of women of color leaving nan BBC’s news and diverseness and inclusion departments arsenic portion of an investigation.

Read Chinny Okolidoh’s afloat missive to unit below, followed by Charlotte Moore’s abstracted statement to staff:

Dear all

I wanted to fto you cognize that Joanna Abeyie, Head of Creative Diversity, has decided to time off nan BBC to return to her consultancy business.

Joanna joined nan BBC successful April 2022, initially arsenic Interim Head of Creative Diversity. In that clip she has worked pinch our Chief Content Officer, Charlotte Moore, our Content teams and nan Creative Diversity Team, to embed inclusive habits into commissioning processes and build connected nan BBC’s relationships pinch our outer partners, indies and suppliers to guarantee authentic and accrued practice of our audiences on- and off-air and screen.

Together pinch her team, she has built connected nan BBC’s attack to and knowing of imaginative diverseness crossed nan Content division, by creating a Creative Diversity Plan, that puts a attraction connected ‘nothing astir america without us’, by collaborating pinch applicable outer partners and stakeholders, and putting transparency, accountability and assemblage insights beforehand and centre of our diverseness and inclusion priorities.

With this change, I person considered really champion to support nan Content section and person decided we will name an interim Head of Creative Diversity to guarantee we proceed to make advancement connected our diverseness and inclusion efforts while we enlistee a imperishable successor. The domiciled will beryllium advertised soon but if you are willing successful nan domiciled and would for illustration to study more, please consciousness free to get successful touch pinch me.

Joanna will beryllium pinch america until early July. Before she leaves us, please subordinate maine successful thanking Joanna for her contributions and wishing her each nan very champion for nan future.

Best wishes,


From: Charlotte Moore

Hi All

I conscionable wanted to walk connected nan news beneath that Joanna Abeyie has decided to return to her consultancy activity and will time off nan BBC successful early July.

Jo has been simply superb to activity pinch and on pinch her team, she has made a existent quality to our knowing of what imaginative diverseness intends and really we should reside it. She is going to beryllium missed by america each but I very overmuch dream we’ll get to activity pinch her successful nan early successful her consultancy role.

She’s achieved specified a immense magnitude wrong nan Content section successful nan past twelvemonth – drafting our Creative Diversity scheme pinch input from galore of you which will beryllium an important portion of her legacy; helping america present this year’s diverseness money commitments; supporting and championing Creative Diversity some wrong and extracurricular nan BBC; moving pinch suppliers and commissioners crossed TV, Radio & Music, Children’s & Education and Sport to present training and supply editorial support and advice; not to mention representing nan BBC connected galore manufacture panels and advising connected analyzable diverseness issues.

I’d for illustration to opportunity a individual convey you to Jo for each her support and each that she has taught maine – I cognize this will beryllium echoed by galore and you will each want to subordinate maine successful wishing her really bully luck pinch her adjacent venture.

Best wishes,


Charlotte Moore
Chief Content Officer