Tony Hall appointed new BBC director general


The BBC's Robert Peston talks about Tony Hall's career

The chief executive of the Royal Opera House and the BBC's former director of news, Tony Hall, has been appointed the corporation's new director general.

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said Lord Hall was "the right person to lead the BBC out of its current crisis".

Lord Hall, who starts next March, said he was "committed to ensuring our news services are the best in the world".

The appointment follows the resignation of George Entwistle earlier this month after just 54 days in the job.

Mr Entwistle quit on 10 November, saying that as editor-in chief he had to take "ultimate responsibility" for a Newsnight investigation that had led to the former Conservative Party treasurer, Lord McAlpine, being wrongly accused of child abuse.

Sixty-one-year-old Lord Hall is due to take over the role - currently occupied by acting director general Tim Davie - in early March, on a salary of £450,000 a year.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller offered her congratulations, saying Lord Hall had "a very strong track record in successfully leading iconic organisations".

She added: "It is important now that Tony Hall gets to grips quickly - to provide the stability and certainty that the BBC needs, and restore public confidence."

Shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman said Lord Hall was an "excellent choice... the right person to bring stability to the BBC in these difficult times".

'Long, hard look'

Lord Patten said the BBC needed "to take 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... Tony Hall is the right person to lead this."

He went on: "Tony Hall has been an insider and is a currently an outsider.

Tony Hall - Lord Hall of Birkenhead - had emerged in recent days as the clear favourite for the job of stabilising the BBC and leading it out of its current crisis.

He is an outsider - as Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, said he wanted - but he also worked at the BBC for many years, latterly as director of BBC News, where he launched Radio 5 live and the BBC News Channel.

He is credited with helping turn round the Royal Opera House, which had been in crisis before he joined as chief executive, and also the Cultural Olympiad, which had been in similar difficulties.

Lord Patten said his experience as a former BBC journalist would prove invaluable as the BBC looked to rebuild its reputation in this area.

"As an ex-BBC man he understands how the corporation's culture and behaviour make it, at its best, the greatest broadcaster in the world.

"And from his vantage point outside the BBC, he understands the sometimes justified criticisms of the corporation - that it can be inward-looking and on occasions too institutional.

"But perhaps most importantly, given where we now find ourselves, his background in news will prove invaluable as the BBC looks to rebuild both its reputation in this area and the trust of audiences."

News trainee

Lord Hall said: "This organisation is an incredibly important part of what makes the United Kingdom what it is. And of course it matters not just to people in this country - but to tens of millions around the world too.

"It's been a difficult few weeks - but together we'll get through it."

Lord Hall joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1973 and during his 28 year career at the corporation oversaw the launch of Radio 5 live, the BBC News Channel, the BBC News website and BBC Parliament. He is believed to have been on the final shortlist for the director general post in 1999 when Greg Dyke was appointed.

Media analyst Steve Hewlett: "He is clearly capable of running a big organisation"

He began his job at the Royal Opera House in 2001.

In 2009 he joined the board of the organising committee for the London Olympics and also set up and chaired the board of the Games' arts festival, the Cultural Olympiad.

He was made a cross-bench peer in 2010 as Lord Hall of Birkenhead.

Lord Hall, who is currently deputy chairman of Channel 4 and sits on the board of the British Council, will be standing down from these roles before he takes up the post of director general.

At the Royal Opera House, Lord Hall has won praise for turning around the business's fortunes. He has widened access to productions through nationwide big screen relays and the purchase of a DVD company to distribute recordings globally. Turnover is reported to have risen from about £45m to £106m under his tenure.

Simon Robey, of the Royal Opera House's board of trustees, said: "I can think of nobody better able to bring stability back to the BBC... He has been a tremendous and inspiring force for good."

Addressing concerns that the process to appoint Lord Hall had not been transparent, Sir Christopher Bland, former chairman of the BBC governors, said it was "absolutely right under the circumstances to dispense with a long-drawn out process".

He said Lord Hall was the "right man... an inspired appointment".

Mr Entwistle's resignation came after the BBC had already spent several weeks at the centre of a scandal over sexual abuse carried out by the late DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile. Police believe Savile may have abused 300 young people over a 40-year period.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    224 So can someone explain all the hate?

    TV Licence fee.

    We don't have a choice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    Take this one step further;

    who appointed Mister Patten and what payoff would he get & what is his salary?

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    #254: "Can we please appoint a business man to run this over paid over staffed organization."

    Aren't Brooks and Coulson 'looking for opportunities'?

    If we think the BBC have issues then surely these experienced individuals from the private sector will soon clean their act up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.


    Nice to see someone acknowledging the pay differentials between Public and Private in the real world as opposed to "make it say what you want" statistics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Good choice. However taxpayers will not excuse BBC for thier misdemenours of the last years. They had too good. Now they must earn their living without relying on £5 billion a year stipend. No more licence money and no more a million plus salaries and no more £700,000 a year news readers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    Good luck to Lord Hall and it would had been better to sack the guy who brought up the wrong researched news instead of having the BBC Director to resign. Well, it was his own decision but in my opinion not a necessary one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    For grown up adults the level of cheap digs and petty comments leads me to despair, as a tax payer and license payer I believe given the size and output of the BBC in terms of quality news, drama, documentaries, world services, radio, education, children's programs (oh I could go on) , but am limited in characters, is well worth the pittance we pay for the services. Still its the typical attitude

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Why are so many people down on this guy because he used to work for the BBC?

    You want an amateur DG with no idea of how the organisation works?

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    patton still needs to go well past sell by date

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Please can the BBC News stop going on endlessly on and on and on about Director Generals, past, current and maybe future. 20 minutes of this stuff today on World at One..a report followed by comments at length by at least 4 other people.What was happening outside in the real world in UK and abroad that really matter was given very little attention or interest. .

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    This might sound odd to most, but hopefully to a few it will not, is Tony Hall a Mason?

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    And what are the Golden Parachute terms of this new appointment?

    Lord Patten was all too willing to reward failure from the licence payers purse and should resign. The BBC should move with the times.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    I presume if this guy resigns in 2 months, he will ask for what Entwistle got! The Trust has got to tighten up the contracts of these people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    Better photograph. I too saw Paul O'Grady.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Right sort of Chap for the job dont yer of us..right school and all that..steady pair of hands..and cheap at half the price dont yer think ?Reeks of establishment from top to bottom..some things never change..old school tie and old boy makes me kept in the more job for the boys..just like the new Arch bish..if your face fits..youre in ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    #254: "Can we please appoint a business man to run this over paid over staffed organization."

    How much do you think it would take to attract a suitably qualified candidate from the private sector, especially in the absence of share options, etc. as part of a remuneration package?

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Another cosy appointment with skeletons to be ground up into dust before forensics move in.

    Needed someone to shake up the 'quango from hell' - & not a line of them wobbling back from lunch with latte in hand

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    BBC living dangerously: trying to report news (with balance); hoping to educate (against pressed grain); having to 'entertain' (to 'justify' our national forum)

    As with Parliament & NHS, goals made near hopeless, infiltrated by offspring of failure, BBC already 'up for sale'

    Where democracy is not held 'sacred', nothing is sacred: where New Labour threw-in, keeper Cameron will take off bales

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    I no longer trust the BBC Trust. This is nothing personal against Tony Hall but the quite bizarre opaque processes. If we can have directly elected Police Commissioners who can hire and fire Chief Constables - why not directly elected members of the BBC Trust who can hire and fire the DG? That would be real accountability to the Licence Fee payers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    This is but a further indication of the near seamless brotherhood that is Britain's Great and Good.Endorsement by none less than Christopher Patten - what more could you want?


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