Justin Bairamian quits Leagas for BBC

Justin Bairamian, the managing director of Leagas Delaney, is joining the BBC as its first head of audience planning. He has been given the remit of putting audience insight at the heart of programme planning and development.

Andy Duncan, the BBC's director of marketing and communications, said Bair-amian's department would work closely with the production division and programme makers. He will lead a team of 20 audience-insight managers who will focus on new programmes and services.

The majority of these audience-insight managers will concentrate on looking at certain programme genres - such as entertainment or comedy - or particular demographics, or BBC regions. Jana Bennett, the BBC's director of television, has given Duncan her whole-hearted support with the venture and is sponsoring the role.

Duncan said he had interviewed a number of people from the advertising agency arena while looking for the right candidate because the role was analogous to the agency planning function. Bairamian worked closely with the BBC when it was a Leagas Delaney client, producing campaigns including the much-vaunted "Perfect Day".

Duncan said: "We believe the expertise and insight that this team will bring to our programme development teams will encourage greater creativity in everything we do."

The formalisation of the role follows a trial period in the documentary and contemporary factual department, the results of which have yet to be seen on screen.

Margaret Johnson, the group managing director at Leagas Delaney, will assume Bairamian's responsibilities.

Tim Delaney, the chairman of Leagas Delaney, said: "I'm happy for him. He's done a great job for us and will do very well there."