Preview case

Click Preview case to review the first page of this case

Main case New

Ros Atkins and the 50:50 Project at the BBC (B)

By Aneeta Rattan, Oriane Georgeac, Siri Chilazi


Ros Atkins, the presenter of the BBC’s nightly primetime news programme Outside Source, had a distinguished and successful career at the BBC. Despite his successes as a journalist and presenter, however, he knew he was not living up to his own and the BBC’s values and mission when it came to gender equality on his show. This had bothered him for years, but his positive intentions never seemed to translate into real changes toward equalising the representation of women and men on air. A car drive where Atkins spent an hour listening to a radio show with no female guests, paired with a leadership development trip to Silicon Valley, pushed him from intention into action and he decided to find a way to use data to drive change. This case study describes the idea that Atkins had, how he tested it on his own show and how he – after a few months of success – expanded it first throughout the BBC to over 500 content teams globally and then to more than 25 external partner organisations (and counting). The case offers an example of how transformative organisational change promoting gender diversity can come from an unexpected source and explores the personal, leadership and organisational challenges that emerge along the way.


Learning objectives

  1. Show a leader’s thought process on the need for progress on diversity issues and offer an example of authentic leadership, even without formal or hierarchical power.
  2. Address the distinction between implicit and explicit bias and the different organisational remedies that they require.
  3. Introduce the idea of design for de-biasing organisational processes and structures.
  4. Detail how an individual can lead change across their own organisation and their industry, even without formal power.
  5. Discuss the complexities of diversity in the workplace.


Publication Date: March 2020
LBS Case Code: CS-20-011
Subjects: , , , ,
Geography: ,
Pages: 2
Format: pdf