BBC appoints new director general

TONY Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, has been appointed as director-general of the BBC.

The former director of news at the BBC will take up his post next March, succeeding George Entwistle who resigned earlier this month after just 54 days in the job.

Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, confirmed Mr Hall's appointment and said his background in news "will prove invaluable as the BBC looks to rebuild both its reputation in this area and the trust of audiences".

He added that he 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".

Lord Hall, who was made a cross-bench peer in 2010 as Lord Hall of Birkenhead, is also deputy chairman of Channel 4. Tim Davie will remain as the acting director-general until he is able to take up his appointment next 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."

He was appointed following a direct approach from the BBC Trust, which did not contact any other candidates. He was not an applicant when the position was vacated by Mark Thompson earlier this year.

The new director general joins at a time of crisis for the corporation which was precipitated by the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal, and a subsequent report on BBC2's Newsnight programme which mistakenly implicated Lord McAlpine in child abuse.

That mistake led to Mr Entwistle quitting his post and also saw the BBC settling with Lord McAlpine for £185,000 last week. Lord Hall will be paid £450,000 in the role - the same level of salary as his predecessor - and his appointment was unanimously agreed by Trustees.

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

© Press Association 2012

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