Jeremy Paxman, And his Beard, To Leave 'Newsnight' After 25 Years

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Jeremy Paxman is to quit his job at 'Newsnight' after 25 years. The presenter, who once asked hapless a Michael Howard the same question a dozen times, had informed new editor Ian Katz of his decision to step down last summer, agreeing to stay on for another year to steady the ship under new stewardship.

Jeremy PaxmanJeremy Paxman is Leaving 'Newsnight'

Paxman will continue in his role as presenter of 'University Challenge,' though is yet to line up a new job at the BBC. 

He is thought to be one of the corporation's best-paid presenter in news, earning around £800,000 a year for his work on Newsnight and University Challenge.

Paxman has been an outspoken critic of his employer in recent years. A couple of weeks ago, he told The Guardian:

"There's a pile of stuff on the BBC I can't stand.My idea of hell is going down in one of the lifts in that ghastly new building [New Broadcasting House] in a lift which has Radio 1Xtra plumbed into it. I don't quite understand why the BBC does Radio 1Xtra . The BBC has got an unfortunate history of never seeing an area of broadcasting, or increasingly a web presence, without feeling the need to get into it itself."

More: Jeremy Paxman has a large beard - you need to know this

It's not clear who will replace Paxman on Newsnight, which also boasts high class talent including Kirsty Wark, Emily Maitlis on its presenting roster, as well as the newly appointed Laura Kuenssberg. Radio 4 presenter Eddie Mair is another touted for the job. 

Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, said: "This is a particularly poignant moment for me, because I have known Jeremy and relished working with him since the day I joined the BBC in 1973. And I am therefore better placed than most to know what a remarkable job he has done at Newsnight.

"His is a rare and dazzling talent. He has a unique ability to create moments of real discomfort for politicians and memorable delight for audiences. For that cussed brilliance and much more besides, the BBC and our audiences will always be in his debt."

Katz added: "I'm deeply grateful to him for delaying his departure to help renew the programme, and for the extraordinary support and generosity he has shown."

More: Jeremy Paxman hitting Edinburgh Festival with one-man show


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