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Seetha Kumar

Currently Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Higher Education at Pearson, the world’s largest learning company. Seetha has been at Pearson since early 2012 and during this time, successfully delivered strategic global projects.

She has held senior positions in major global brands in both the private and public sector. Her experience includes publishing, digital and broadcast, and straddles the creative editorial, and the strategic operational.

Prior to joining Pearson, she was Controller BBC Online, and the BBC’s Digital Access Champion. She was brought in as Controller following a critical regulatory review of bbc.co.uk, to achieve strong governance, editorial and strategic leadership and financial rigour and accountability. She drove digital literacy, rationalised the service, doubled audience growth while clearing 20 % budget overrun, driving 25% savings and effecting cultural change.

Previously, she launched BBC HD, UK’s first free to air public service HD channel in an embryonic market. She conceived, shaped and translated a strategic vision into a practical framework for implementation, rolled out industry training, and achieved cost effective production migration and efficient distribution.

With a strong background in programme making, Seetha’s various roles at the BBC included Crimewatch UK, the BBC’s enduring prime time brand, Executive Editor of the award winning Africa Lives on the BBC season; Head of Lifeskills for Television; Creative Director, Documentaries in charge of Crime and Health; and Executive Producer for Features. Africa Lives on the BBC in 2005 was in its time, the BBC’s largest cross-channel, cross-genre and cross-media season, which also involved partnerships and collaboration with key organisations such as British Museum, Africa ‘05 Arts Council, The South bank centre and 50 other organisations across the UK.

Seetha has also commissioned programmes including Body Hits, Make Me Honest, the Time of Your Life season, Diet Trials, the Taking Care season, the critically acclaimed and award winning Your Life in Their Hands and the pan-BBC season Hitting Home, considered a seminal media moment in the coverage of domestic violence and which earned an Early Day Motion in Parliament.

Seetha was also involved in the Government’s review of the BBC’s digital services.

Born and educated in India, Seetha started her career in New Delhi for a broadsheet financial daily, where she was the first woman to join the newspaper’s bureau. In the UK, Seetha initially worked on Channel 4 productions before moving to the BBC, specialising in investigative social and legal documentary programmes.

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