James Purnell

James Purnell

James has been the BBC’s Director of Radio since September 2016, and their Director of Strategy and Digital since March 2013. His interests include the economy, further education, welfare and capabilities. He is the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

In government, James was also Minister of State for Pensions Reform, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ruth Kelly MP in the Cabinet Office. He joined the Government as an Assistant Whip in December 2004.

Before entering Parliament in 2001 he was Head of Corporate Planning at the BBC (1995-1997) and worked as a special adviser on culture, media, sport and the knowledge economy for the then Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997 to 2001.

He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, University of Oxford.