Vijay Sharma is leaving the role of BBC Asian Network’s Head this summer after twenty years at the station.

She will be stepping down to pursue interests in the Health, Cultural and Charity sectors.

She leaves the Asian Network in good health, with the station currently reaching 507,000 listeners a week having grown significantly over the last year. It is currently the most listened to Asian Radio service in the UK.

Vijay Sharma said, It has been my absolute honour to have held this position and I am proud to leave the station in such great shape. I have had the privilege of working with so many talented individuals – a group of hardworking, creative and inspirational people who are a credit to the BBC. The Asian Network has played a pivotal role in providing a platform to the British Asian artists, creative and journalistic talent. I am hugely proud of this.۝

Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Asian Network, said: “Vijay has been a leading light in the BBC Asian Network for many years and her legacy is impressive. I am particularly grateful to her for her inspirational leadership during the last turbulent 18 months.”

Tim Davie, Director of BBC Audio & Music, said: Vijay has always been a formidable champion for the Asian Network, her staff and British Asian audiences over the years. She leaves a strong legacy as a creative leader whose team are delivering strong results and have proved themselves to be an important part of Audio and Music and the BBC.۝

Appointed as the Editor of the BBC Midlands Asian Regional Service in 1996, Vijay lead the evolution of this service to becoming a national network on DAB in 2002. During her time in the position, she has overseen quality programming in the form of dramas, documentaries and outreach events, including multiple summers of Mela activity, alongside a revamp of the network۪s schedule.

Vijay joined the BBC working at Radio Leicester, where she worked with three freelancers to produce five hours of Asian programming a week. This grew to 80 hours a week when she established a Midlands regional Asian Network. Eventually this lead to the roll-out of the regional service on AM transmitters to the East Midlands, the North West, South and West Yorkshire, Peterborough and the Three Counties, before she lead the move to the service becoming a national radio station on DAB ten years ago.

Under her leadership, the Asian Network has signed a hugely diverse range of on and off-air talent, including; Sonia Deol, Bobby Friction, Tommy Sandhu, Nihal, Anita Rani, Adil Ray, Nikki Bedi, Noreen Khan, Jas Rao, Shabina Akthar, Aasma Mir, Rahul Tandon, Alison Mitchell, Lee James, Ade Adedoyn and Raj & Pablo to name a few.