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James Harding named as BBC's new director of news

James Harding pictured in 2011. Credit: PA

Former Times editor James Harding has been appointed head of BBC News, replacing Helen Boaden who was in charge when the Jimmy Savile scandal erupted.

The journalist, who edited the paper for five years before leaving last year, starts in the £340,000-a-year role in August.

"James has a very impressive track record as a journalist, editor and leader," BBC director-general Tony Hall said.

"High quality journalism is at the heart of our organisation. I believe James will give News a renewed sense of purpose as it moves on from what has been an undeniably difficult chapter."

When Harding stepped down from his position at The Times in December 2012, he indicated the decision had been forced on him by publishers News International in his resignation speech.

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James Harding, who is 43, was one of the youngest journalists ever to take charge of The Times and has been at its helm for five years. Educated at Cambridge, Mr Harding began his journalistic career at the Financial Times.

He opened their Shanghai Bureau and served as Bureau Chief in Washington before joining The Times as Business Editor.

It has been announced that James Harding is to leave The Times. Credit: Press Association

Speaking following his resignation, Mr Harding said: "For any journalist, it is an extraordinary privilege and a point of pride to see your work appear beneath the masthead of The Times, the greatest name in newspapers in the world.

"I feel hugely honoured to have been given the opportunity to edit the paper and deeply grateful for the experience of working among the finest journalists in the world. This paper has an unrivalled history and, I am extremely confident, a long and impressive future ahead of it.”

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Murdoch: 'James Harding has been a distinguished editor'

News International and Times Newspapers Ltd have announced the resignation of James Harding as Editor of The Times. Mr Harding informed the national independent directors of The Times this morning. He will leave at the end of the month.

James has been a distinguished editor for The Times, attracting talented staff to the paper and leading it through difficult times. I have great respect for him as a colleague and friend, and truly hope we can work together again.

– Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation