current affairs

George Entwistle appointed BBC Director General

George Entwistle has been appointed the BBC’s new Director General effective in the autumn, succeeding Mark Thompson, who is stepping down after the Olympics.

George Entwistle has been appointed the BBC’s new Director General effective in the autumn, succeeding Mark Thompson, who is stepping down after the Olympics. Entwistle had been one of three candidates who had been shortlisted for the position, going up against Caroline Thomson, the Chief Operating Officer and Ed Richards, the head of media regulator Ofcom, according to a report from The Guardian.

In a statement, Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust which governs the BBC’s activities, said Entwistle had a vision for the BBC’s future. ‘George is a creative leader for a creative organisation,’ Patten said. ‘His experience of making and delivering great programmes that audiences love, built up through many years of working for the Corporation, will prove invaluable as he and his team work to ensure the BBC remains the greatest broadcaster in the world.’

Patten, in his statement, also paid tribute to Thompson. ‘His creativity, vision and leadership have made him an outstanding Director-General of the BBC and he will be sorely missed,’ Patten said.

Entwistle added in a statement that he was pleased with the appointment. ‘I’m delighted that the Chairman and Trustees have decided I’m the right person for the job,’ Entwistle said. ‘And I’m very excited about all that lies ahead. I love the BBC and it’s a privilege to be asked to lead it into the next stage of its creative life.’

Thompson said in a statement that Entwistle’s appointment gave the BBC a strong future. ‘George has shown himself to be an outstanding leader with an intuitive understanding of public sector broadcasting,’ Thompson said. ‘He has a formidable track record as a programme maker and in recent years has also shown his calibre as a leader. I wish him and the BBC every success in the years to come.’

In an e-mail to staff obtained by The Guardian, Thompson added that Entwistle had the BBC’s values at heart. ‘He’s someone who has the BBC’s values running through his veins and a track record of backing talent and driving innovation with real conviction and courage,’ Thompson wrote, adding that he would involve Entwistle on decisions for the future as Director-General designate.

Entwistle will succeed Thompson in the autumn, with a salary of £450,000, according to the BBC. Thompson announced he was stepping down in March after eight years as Director General, according to The Guardian, having been appointed to take the role in May 2004 according to the BBC. Entwistle has been with the BBC since 1989 and currently serves as the director of BBC Vision.

A report from The Guardian says Thomson is to leave the BBC as a result of the decision. However, in a statement to Kettle, Thomson says she will support Entwistle. “Of course I am very disappointed not to have been appointed Director-General. It would have been a wonderful honour to lead such a brilliant organization,’ Thomson said. ‘But if it couldn’t have been me then George is absolutely the right choice.  He has public service broadcasting running through him and I will support him in every way as he works into the job.’