London/ Singapore – BBC News has announced its first China Editor and a new Business Editor. BBC News has appointed Carrie Gracie as its first China Editor. Carrie will take up the role in spring after six years as weekday co-presenter of the morning strand on the BBC News Channel. She will be based in Beijing as soon as Chinese formalities are complete. The appointment to the new role marks the growing importance of China as a political, economic and military power.

The BBC also announced the appointment of Kamal Ahmed, currently Business Editor for the Sunday Telegraph, as the BBC’s new Business Editor. Kamal will take on the role from March.

James Harding, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, said: “The appointment of the BBC’s first China editor signals our determination to bring home to people the sweeping changes in the world’s most populous nation as well as the transformative impact that China is having upon the world and all of our lives. In Carrie Gracie, the BBC is fortunate to have someone who has profound knowledge of China, insightful judgement as a journalist and exceptional talent as a broadcaster. I know she will singularly enhance our already impressive coverage of China.”

“Kamal Ahmed is one of the most formidable journalists working in Britain today.  He has proved a commanding voice on corporate life and the British economy as Business Editor of The Sunday Telegraph. He will bring intelligence, flair and incisive judgement to the BBC’s coverage of business. With Robert Peston appointed as Economics Editor and Kamal succeeding Robert as Business Editor, the BBC is extremely lucky to boast an unrivalled team of journalists committed to understanding the outlook for the economy, the financial choices that govern our lives and the businesses that decide how we earn our way in the world.”

Carrie has been gripped by events in China for three decades. She taught English and Economics in Chongqing and Yantai Universities between 1985 and 1986. She was the BBC World Service Beijing reporter in the early 1990s and China correspondent and Beijing bureau chief from 1997 until 1999. Carrie has a BA in Chinese and speaks fluent Mandarin. The major stories she has covered include the death of Deng Xiaoping and the handover of Hong Kong.

 Carrie said: “I’m a lifelong China obsessive. So it’s hard to put into words what this job means to me. At this moment in history, to tell the China story for the BBC? Just an awesome responsibility and a truly huge privilege.”

Kamal Ahmed joined the Telegraph Media Group in September 2009 as Business Editor, Sunday Telegraph, with responsibility for the business section of the paper. Earlier this year Kamal took over increased responsibilities as Executive Business Editor, with a role across both the Sunday and Daily print titles as well as online. Kamal is also editorial lead for the Telegraph’s annual Festival of Business. Prior to his role as Business Editor for the SundayTelegraph, Kamal was Group Director of Communications at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He was also previously Executive Editor News at the Observer, where he has also worked as Political Editor.

Commenting on his appointment Kamal Ahmed said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining the BBC. It is a great privilege to follow in the footsteps of Robert Peston and build on the great work the BBC does covering the business world. I am very much looking forward to working with the team and developing that coverage. I have been very fortunate to have had a great four years at the Telegraph Media Group as Business Editor of The Sunday Telegraph, and am very grateful to them for the time I have spent there.”

When Carrie starts her new role in early 2014, her work on the BBC News Channel will be covered from within the existing presentation team.