His time at the BBC was almost entirely in daily news. He was a programme editor, news editor and, later, Head of Newsgathering when the Corporation won a number of awards for its international news coverage. He merged radio and television news, and domestic and World Service newsgathering during this time, resulting in the world's largest broadcast news operation. He was acting Director of Sport in 2000, and became Director of News in 2001. Sambrook became Director of the World Service and Global News in September 2004. He oversaw major restructuring of the World Service, and its opening of Arabic and Persian television, as well as commercial interactive services. Since January 2010 he has been a Visiting Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. From 2006-2009 he was Vice President of the European Broadcasting Union and represented public broadcasters on the advisory group to the UN's Internet Governance Forum . He was a member of the leadership committee of the Global Media AIDS Initiative, established by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2004. He was Chairman of the BBC's international charity, the World Service Trust, and Chairman of the Arts and Business Advisory Council. He was on the advisory board of the British Council, the executive committee of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the board of the Fritz Institute. He led an inquiry for the International News Safety Institute into the deaths of journalists around the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society and of the Royal Society of Arts. Sambrook is married with two children.
Richard Sambrook was a Counsellor at One Young World Summits: 2010 in London.