Tony Hall appointed as Director-General of the BBC

Date: 22.11.2012     Last updated: 23.09.2014 at 09.48
Category: Press releases

The BBC Trust has today appointed Tony Hall - Lord Hall of Birkenhead - as the Director-General of the BBC, following the departure of George Entwistle.

Lord Hall is currently Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, was Chairman of the board for the Cultural Olympiad and was head of BBC News and Current Affairs from 1996 to 2001. He was a digital pioneer, launching BBC News Online, as well as Radio 5 Live, BBC News 24 and BBC Parliament. At present he is Deputy Chairman of Channel 4.

Lord Hall is expected to start in early March and in the interim period Tim Davie will remain as Acting Director-General.

Announcing the appointment, which was unanimously agreed by Trustees at a meeting this morning, BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten said:

"While there are still very serious questions to be answered by the on-going inquiries, it is in the interests of licence fee payers that the BBC now starts to refocus on its main purpose – making great programmes that audiences love and trust.

"In doing this it will need 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 and I am delighted that he is taking on this role. For its part I want to make sure that the Trust gives Tony Hall whatever help and support he needs to re-build the BBC's management around him.

"Tony Hall has been an insider and is a currently an outsider. 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."

Lord Hall will take up the post on a salary of £450,000 per year.

Lord Hall said:

"I believe passionately in the BBC and that's why I have accepted Lord Patten's invitation to become Director General.

"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.

"I'm committed to ensuring our news services are the best in the world.

"I'm committed to making this a place where creative people, the best and the brightest, want to work.

"And I know from my first days here as a news trainee, to my time as head of news and current affairs, to my time now at the Royal Opera House, that I can't do it on my own. Having the right teams working together, sparking off each other, is key.

"And I want to build a world class team to lead a world class BBC."

The appointment was made following a direct approach from the BBC Trust to Lord Hall. The Trust did not approach any other candidates. Lord Hall did not apply for the job when it last became vacant as a result of Mark Thompson's departure.

Commenting on the process of appointment, Lord Patten added:

"Just over four months ago the Trust completed a thorough recruitment process. Tony Hall wasn't available then but I am delighted he has agreed to come on board now.

"Of course we might have considered going through the whole lengthy recruitment process again with a new round of advertisements and another global hunt for candidates. But I believe the approach we have taken is ultimately in the interests of the BBC and, most importantly, licence fee payers as we have got the best candidate and he will help the organisation quickly get back on an even keel."

Notes to editors

  1. Lord Hall took up his position as Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House in April 2001. He joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1973 and during a 28 year career at the Corporation he held roles including Senior Producer at World at One, Assistant Editor of the Nine O'Clock News, Output Editor for Newsnight, culminating as Chief Executive of BBC News from 1996 to 2001. While at the BBC he launched Radio 5 Live, BBC News 24, BBC News Online and BBC Parliament. He is Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 Television and sits on the board of The British Council and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. He is passionate about education and skills within the cultural industries. He was the founder Chair of Creative & Cultural Skills and Chairman of the Musical and Dance Scheme. He spearheaded the development of the new High House Production Park in Thurrock, Essex. With the exception of his role at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, he will be standing down from all his other current roles before taking up the post of Director-General of the BBC. He has been Chair of Stratford East Theatre, and Honorary Visiting Fellow of Journalism at City University, a member of the Regeneration Through Heritage Steering Group, a board member of Race for Opportunity, a former non-executive director of HM Customs and Excise and was a member of the Council for Brunel University. In 2009 he was asked by the Government and the Mayor of London to set up and chair a board to direct the Cultural Olympiad and also joined the board of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. He was appointed a CBE in 2005 and in 2010 was created a life peer with the title Baron Hall of Birkenhead. He sits on the Crossbenches in the House of Lords.
  2. Lord Hall will be the 16th Director-General of the BBC. The Director-General is the Chief Executive Officer of the BBC and its Editor-in-Chief. The Trust has also determined that the Director-General will chair the BBC's Executive Board. The Director-General is the editorial, operational and creative leader of the BBC, with responsibility for a significant global workforce and the Corporation's services across television, radio and online.
  3. The appointment was made at a meeting of the BBC Trust this morning.
  4. The appointment is a permanent contract. The package consists of a basic salary and access to the BBC's standard pension arrangements. But Lord Hall is already a BBC pensioner and will not benefit from any further pension payment. There is no variable component to the pay.
  5. The Trust did not newly engage an executive search firm for this appointment. However, Trustees have been advised on an unpaid basis by Egon Zehnder who carried out the original search for a Director-General earlier this year.
  6. George Entwistle was appointed as Director-General of the BBC on a salary of £450,000 per year. Tim Davie is being paid at the same rate.