Former CBC News head Tony Burman to Al Jazeera

TORONTO – Tony Burman, the one-time head of CBC news, has been appointed managing director of Al Jazeera’s English operations.

Burman, 60, takes over from Nigel Parsons, who has held the position since the network’s launch two years ago. Parsons is now managing director of business acquisition and development.

“In the months ahead, I will … put an emphasis on the expansion of Al Jazeera’s vast audience reach into important new areas of the world, most notably North America,” Burman said in a news release.

He called Al Jazeera’s newsrooms the most diverse in the world with a presence in more than 50 countries.

“I look forward to capitalizing on this strength through increased investment in investigative journalism, more provocative and insightful current affairs and expansion of the network’s large worldwide network of more than 60 news bureaus.”

Burman, an award-winning news and documentary producer, left the CBC last year after 35 years at the public broadcaster, including seven as editor in chief.

In 2006, Burman oversaw CBC News’s introduction of a new look and attitude on all its platforms in response to demands that the public broadcaster try to be hipper and cooler. A survey of Canadians found that parts of the CBC News operation didn’t appeal to young people.

Al Jazeera’s English channel was launched in November 2006 and is now available to more than 100 million households worldwide.

Somehow, this makes sense for the former CBC News editor-in-chief.

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