HEREFORD College of Arts (HCA) can confirm a new principal and CEO recruited from the BBC.

Abigail Appleton - current creative director of BBC Learning - is expected to take up the role in the autumn when current Principal Richard Heatly retires after 12 years in charge.

As Principal, Ms Appleton will have overall control in driving the college’s strategic vision and its ambitious plans to expand its higher and further education offer - together with making a significant contribution to the cultural, creative and economic landscape of the region.

Dan Howard, HCA chair of governors said:

“We believe we have found a Principal designate who will match our collective ambitions, help us make the most of our manifest opportunities and lead Hereford College of Arts into a secure, successful and very different future”.

Ms Appleton’s former appointments include Head of Commissioning for BBC Learning, Head of Speech Programmes for Radio 3, Editor of Night Waves and Chief Producer, Radio Arts Unit.

Of her new role, she said:

“I’m thrilled to have been invited to become the new Principal.  Hereford College of Arts is a hugely impressive and creative institution and it is a great privilege to have this chance to become part of its future.”

Stephanie Mortimore and James Reid, HCA Student Union co-presidents said:

 “Having taken part in the interview process to find the next Principal we are now looking forward to (Ms Appleton)  taking up her post. We are excited for the new ideas and energy that we know she will bring to her role considering her background and are delighted to have played a role in her selection on behalf of the student body."

Ms Appleton is expected to assume the appointment in the autumn when current principal Richard Heatly retires after 12 years in the role.

Mr Heatly said he was "delighted" at the selection of his successor.

"She is an excellent choice to lead the college as its reputation grows and its importance to Herefordshire and the creative sector develops,” he said.