|Frank Gardner - keen birdwatcher|
Gardner (57), who is the BBC's security correspondent, succeeds another BBC broadcaster, Chris Packham, who has, after three years, stepped down by mutual agreement with the BTO because of pressure of other commitments.
An old boy of Marlborough College and graduate of Exeter University with a degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies, he spent between 1986 and 1995 as an investment banker with first Saudi International Bank, then Robert Fleming Bank, before making the bold decision to quite the financial world in favour of journalism, working initially for BBC World TV.
Spotting a gap in coverage he moved himself and his heavily pregnant wife to Dubai in 1997 to set up as a freelance Gulf stringer covering all 6 Gulf state countries and Yemen.
In 1999, London-born Gardner was appointed BBC Middle East correspondent in charge of the bureau in Cairo, but travelling throughout the region.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York, Gardner focused on stories related to the so-called ‘War on Terror’, a phrase he always disliked, working to steer his audiences away from many of the prejudices and stereotypings that sprang up in the wake of those attacks.
Colleagues and viewers credit him for his excellent communication skills and his breadth of knowledge of Middle East affairs,
On 6 June 2004, while reporting from a suburb of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, disaster struck.
Gardner was shot six times and seriously injured in an attack by al-Qaeda sympathisers. His colleague Irish cameraman Simon Cumbers was shot dead. He was left partly paralysed in the legs and dependent on a wheelchair.
After 14 operations, seven months in hospital and months of rehabilitation he returned to reporting for the BBC in mid-2005, using a wheelchair or a frame.
A keen birdwatcher (he has made a TV documentary on birds of paradise), Gardner also enjoys scuba diving and winter sports
President of the Ski Club of Great Britain until 2017, Gardner is now a Patron of Disability Snowsports UK with Pippa Middleton.
After his injuries in 2004 he relearned how to ski using a bobski (also called a sit-ski), that allows disabled people to ski while seated.
Awarded an OBE in 2005, the father-of-two is author of three books Blood and Sand, recounting his Middle East experiences, Far Horizons, describing unusual journeys to unusual places, and Crisis, his debut spy thriller set in Colombia.