Phil Craig is departing as ABC head of factual on January 30 and returning to London to take up the new role of chief creative officer for Discovery Networks International.

As IF reported, Craig told the ABC in September that he planned to go back to the UK for family reasons when his contract expired. The ABC hasn't indicated when his job will be advertised.

Craig will lead the production and development group at Silver Spring, New York, Miami, London and Singapore. He'll develop non-fiction and lifestyle content primarily for Discovery Channel and TLC and collaborate  with US-based colleagues on content sharing and development.

He worked for the BBC and UK indie Nutopia before joining the ABC in October 2012.  His recent commissions include Changing Minds,  which featured in the  ABC’s  Mental As… season,  and  WW1 centenary series The War That Changed Us.

ABC director of television Richard Finlayson said, “During Phil’s tenure, the factual team has produced some outstanding programming including important external commissions such as Whitlam, First Footprints, Kakadu, Redesign My Brain and The Dreamhouse, but also in-house productions from the Compass and Catalyst teams and the upcoming ABC Adelaide specials on Countdown.

"We appreciate that some pressing family matters mean that Phil is departing a few months earlier than planned, but he’s left a number of excellent shows in the pipeline, including some of the expected highlights of 2015.”

Craig said, "I’ve loved my time working for the ABC, but family concerns made me cut short my time in Australia. It also made me available for a great new opportunity at Discovery International.

"In almost 30 years in television I’ve never encountered a group of people as committed to the highest ambitions of public service broadcasting as the genre head group at the ABC and its leadership. It will be particularly hard for me to leave the in-house production teams that I've been so proud to lead at the ABC."

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