Entertainment & Arts

Profile: Tony Hall

Tony Hall outside the Royal Opera House in 2007
Image caption Hall is widely credited with bringing financial stability to the Royal Opera House

Tony Hall's appointment as the BBC's new director general is the latest high-profile role for a man with a distinguished track record in broadcasting, leadership and running major organisations.

As such, he will be seen as ideally placed to restore stability and direction to the corporation after a traumatic period that saw the resignation of the previous director general, George Entwistle, after just 54 days in the job.

Lord Hall of Birkenhead, who has just left his post as chief executive of the Royal Opera House, worked at the BBC for 28 years and was its head of news and current affairs from 1996 to 2001.

For the last three years he has chaired the board for the Cultural Olympiad, the four-year programme of cultural events that climaxed with the London 2012 festival earlier this year.

Educated at King Edward's School in Edgbaston and Birkenhead School on Merseyside, Lord Hall went on to study philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Keble College, Oxford.

He began his BBC career in 1973 and worked as a trainee in the Belfast newsroom, going on to produce Today, The World at One, The World Tonight and PM on Radio Four.

He became editor of the Nine O'Clock News on BBC One at the age of 34, and went on to supervise the BBC's coverage of the 1987 general election.

Between 1987 and 1989 he was the editor of television news and current affairs, during which time he launched the BBC's televised coverage of Parliament.

Following that role, he was director, then chief executive, of BBC News and current affairs until 2001, making him responsible for the entirety of the BBC's network journalism on radio and television.

During his tenure he launched Radio 5 live, BBC News 24, BBC News Online and BBC Parliament, all of which are now integral components of the corporation's output.

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Media captionThe BBC's Robert Peston talks about Tony Hall's career

Lord Hall is believed to have been on the final shortlist for the director general post ahead of Greg Dyke's appointment in 1999.

In 2001 he joined the Royal Opera House, one of the country's largest and most complex arts institutions.

His time there has seen access to the Royal Opera's work widened through nationwide Big Screen relays, the introduction of special low-price ticket schemes and the purchase of a DVD company, Opus Arte, to distribute recordings globally.

In 2007 he chaired a review for Channel 4 over its handling of Celebrity Big Brother and the ensuing race row involving returning contestant Jade Goody and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty.

Earlier this year he was appointed the channel's deputy chairman, a role he will have to relinquish after taking up the director general post in March 2013.

Lord Hall was made a CBE in 2005, has sat on the board of the British Council since 2008 and was created a life peer with the title Baron Hall of Birkenhead in 2010.

Married with two children, he is the author of two books: King Coal (1981), a history of the National Union of Mineworkers, and Nuclear Politics (1987), a history of nuclear power in Britain.

After his appointment was announced last November, Lord Hall said he wanted "to build a world-class team to lead a world-class BBC".

"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."

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