Radio 1 boss Andy Parfitt to stand down

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt is to leave his role at the station after 13 years.

He is to take up "new challenges", which will include an advisory role for Comic Relief as well as working on leadership development for BBC radio.

Breakfast show host Chris Moyles described him as "the best boss I've ever had" following the announcement today.

During his stint as controller he has overseen the launch of spin-off station 1xtra and he has had the title of controller of BBC popular music for the past three years.

He has had more of a public profile than many BBC radio controllers thanks to the regular namechecks from Moyles on his show. The pair also had a spat last year when the presenter moaned during an extended on-air rant that he had not been paid.

Moyles has since signed a new deal to stay with the station, following a period of uncertainty, and today he praised his outgoing boss.

"He has been incredibly supportive, creative and helpful to me and my show for over a decade.

"His forward thinking and professionalism has helped keep Radio 1 at the cutting edge of youth culture broadcasting. Probably the best guy to run Radio 1 ever."

The flagship station draws nearly 12 million listeners under Parfitt's leadership, according to most recent figures, though it did dip below 10 million during his tenure.

He will leave his role as controller - and relinquish his roles with 1xtra, BBC popular music and the Asian Network, which he also oversees - at the end of this month.

Parfitt, 52, joined the BBC as a studio manager 32 years ago, later spending time in the Falkland Islands on secondment to British Forces Broadcasting Services.

He went on to become a producer with BBC Education and Radio 4 before joining Radio 1 as chief assistant to the controller in 1993. He was appointed controller in 1998.

Parfitt said: "I am immensely proud to have held this position and I leave with all three stations in great shape, with their listening figures at record highs and following a great BBC-wide Glastonbury event.

"I'm most proud of the incredible teams I'm leaving behind - a group of talented, hardworking, creative and inspirational people who are a credit to the BBC."

Tim Davie, the BBC's director for audio and music, said: "He has been an inspirational leader within the BBC and is highly respected across the whole of the radio industry."

Under Parfitt, the station axed the long-running Radio 1 Roadshow which toured numerous seaside locations. But it has now established its own summer music festival Radio 1's Big Weekend, which launched in 2003.