The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) today announced the appointment of David Austin OBE, as the new Director of the BBFC. Mr Austin is currently Assistant Director at the BBFC, coordinating the BBFC’s policy work and leading on its public affairs outreach. He is also responsible for managing the BBFC’s research, communications and education programmes.
He will be taking up the post on 12 March 2016, when the current Director, David Cooke, retires.
David Austin said: “I am delighted to bring my expertise as both a Film Examiner and Assistant Director to the role of BBFC Director. It is vital for the BBFC to continue to consult the public regularly and to meet their expectations of both classification and the ease with which they expect to be able to access to classification information, enabling them to make informed decisions about what they and their family watch at the cinema, on DVD or Blu-ray and online.
“Under David Cooke and in partnership with the home entertainment industry in particular, the BBFC has transformed its remit to reflect the needs of a digital society, bringing its expertise in child protection and information provision online. I am greatly looking forward to continuing to work with my colleagues at the BBFC, the Presidential Team, the Council of Management and the Board’s advisory bodies and stakeholders to ensure the BBFC continues to act as an expert and trusted guide to film, DVD/Blu-ray and digital platforms.”
David Cooke said: “I am delighted that the Appointments Panel, consisting of Graham Lee and Maggie Carver from the Council of Management and Patrick Swaffer and Alison Hastings from the Presidential Team, have appointed David. David has been a close colleague for over eleven years, and has pioneered many key initiatives such as our contract with the Mobile Network Operators, our partnership with international colleagues for classifying User Generated Content, and our partnership with the music industry and platforms for classifying physical and online music videos. I am sure that David will take the BBFC from strength to strength in serving the public, and the cause of child protection, in the internet age.”
David Austin received an OBE in 1999 for his contribution to helping end conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. David joined the BBFC in 2003 as an Examiner following a career in the Diplomatic Service, serving in South Asia, Central Africa and the former Yugoslavia. He moved to the role of Assistant Director, Policy & Public Affairs in 2011, overseeing the most recent public consultation of the BBFC Classification Guidelines in 2013; the introduction of the BBFC Mobile Classification Framework used by UK Mobile Network Operators in 2013; and the BBFC’s partnership with the UK music industry and Vevo and YouTube to bring age ratings to online music videos in 2015.
Graham Lee, Chair of the appointments panel and Chairman of the BBFC Council of Management said: “We are very pleased, that after a rigorous, open and transparent selection process, we have been able to appoint a candidate who has done so much in recent years to build and develop the important services carried out by the BBFC.”
The post of Director was filled through open competition.