BBC appoints Tony Hall as new director-general

Thursday 22 November 2012 18.16
Tony Hall spent 28 years at the BBC before leaving in 2001
Tony Hall spent 28 years at the BBC before leaving in 2001

Tony Hall, chief executive of Britain’s Royal Opera House, has been appointed as new director-general of the BBC.

The new director-general of the BBC has vowed to drag the broadcaster out of its crisis saying: "I know we can get through this."

He was directly approached by the BBC Trust 12 days after George Entwistle resigned from the €450,000-a-year role.

Mr Entwistle lasted just 54 days in the job.

The appointment of Mr Hall, a former BBC news executive who has been chief executive of the ROH since 2001, has been hailed as providing the corporation with some welcome leadership.

Tim Davie will remain as the acting director-general until Mr Hall is able to take up the post next March.

Chris Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust, said Mr Hall was the "right person" to lead the BBC as it takes "a long, hard look at the way it operates and put in place the changes required to ensure it lives up to the standards that the public expects."

The new director-general - who was the only candidate contacted by the twrust - said: "It's been a really tough few weeks for this organisation and I know we can get through it by listening patiently by thinking carefully about what to do next."

Speaking at the BBC's Broadcasting House in London, he added: "I care passionately about the BBC, about what it can do, its programme-makers and the impact we have in all sorts of different ways."

He continued: "It's one of those extraordinary organisations which is an absolutely essential part of Britain, of the UK, of who we are. But also has this incredible impact around the world too."

Britain's Culture Secretary Maria Miller praised his appointment and said: "He has a very strong track record in successfully leading iconic organisations."

Mr Hall will have to rebuild the BBC's battered reputation after weeks of difficulties precipitated by the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal and a report on BBC2's Newsnight programme, which mistakenly implicated Robert McAlpine in child abuse.

That blunder led to Mr Entwistle quitting his post and also saw the BBC settling with Mr McAlpine for £185,000 last week.

Public trust in the BBC is said to have been knocked by the furore and a number of inquiries into the Savile fallout are under way.

Mr Hall, who began as a news trainee with the BBC 39 years ago, is thought to have been in the running for the director-general post when Greg Dyke was appointed in 1999.

He was not an applicant when the position was vacated by Mark Thompson earlier this year.

Mr Hall, who was head of BBC news and current affairs from 1996 to 2001, acknowledged it had been a "difficult few weeks" but said he wanted to lead a "world-class BBC".

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