Helen Boaden, the executive in charge of BBC News when the Jimmy Savile controversy erupted, is to move to a new role heading the corporation's radio networks.

And former culture secretary James Purnell is to join the BBC in a major strategic role.

Boaden has been director of news at the BBC for eight-and-a-half years but had to step aside for a spell from November last year in the wake of the Savile investigations.

helen boaden

The appointments have been made by incoming director-general Tony Hall before he takes up his position in April

She will become director of BBC Radio from April 15. She has previously been the controller of Radio 4, prior to taking up her news role in September 2004.

Purnell will return to the BBC, where he had been head of corporate planning in the 1990s before entering frontline politics as a Labour MP.

After stepping back from politics, he became a producer and has been working at production firm Rare Day.

Purnell, who serves on the board of the British Film Institute and the Royal National Theatre, has been appointed as director of strategy and digital. His new role may be used as fuel by those who regularly complain about a left-wing bias at the corporation.

He said: "I'm really excited to be coming back to the BBC to work on its future with such a great team. Over the last couple of years, producing and developing programmes has rekindled my passion for the career I had before politics. I feel very lucky to have the chance to return to the BBC at such an important time."

Hall said of his appointments to the senior management team: "I am building a senior team that will define the BBC and public service broadcasting for the next decade.

"It will be a team that is made up of outstanding talent from outside the BBC combined with the best people from within.

"There will be more changes over the coming months and there is a lot of hard work ahead but today's appointments are the first steps in delivering that vision."