Bernie Corbett, general secretary of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), has stepped down after 15 years at the helm of the trade union.
The organisation, which represents the interests of writers for TV, film, theatre, radio, poetry, animation and videogames, as well as books, has appointed assistant general secretary Ellie Peers to stand in as acting general secretary. The formal and legal process of electing and appointing a new permanent general secretary will take place later this year.
Corbett, who first came to the WGGB in 2000, will remain in the position of finance and business manager during a transitional period.
Corbett is said to have been a key figure in the establishing of Writers Digital Payments, a not-for-profit company set up to make sure that TV writers get fairly remunerated when their work is shown online on BBC iPlayer and ITV Player. Launched last year, the scheme has already seen £1m already paid out in royalties. He also has helped to negotiate annual rates rises for writers in theatre, TV and radio, in spite of cuts to arts funding.
WGGB chair Gail Renard said: “The Writers’ Guild will always be grateful to Bernie Corbett for the mountains – and they were mountains – he's moved. Bernie steps down leaving the union in a strong position both nationally and internationally. With characteristic generosity, he's staying on to help WGGB advance to the next stage.
“Ellie Peers now becomes Acting General Secretary, which means the union will continue to be in the very best of hands. Ellie, as ever, will keep our members' futures and rights top of the agenda.”