Tony Hall outside the BBC’s London HQ
Tony Hall is to step down as director general of the BBC in the summer, after seven years in the role.Lord Hall said the decision had been hard, adding: “If I followed my heart I would genuinely never want to leave.”But he said he felt it was important the BBC had the same leader for the BBC’s mid-term review in 2022 and the renewal of its charter in 2027.Sir David said the search for a new director general would begin “within the next few weeks”.He added that the BBC was “committed to selecting the best qualified person for the job”.Speaking of Lord Hall, he said the corporation had been “lucky to have him”.He described him as “an inspirational creative leader” who had “led the BBC with integrity and a passion for our values”.Culture secretary Nicky Morgan thanked Lord Hall for his service, saying he had made “a huge contribution to public service broadcasting in his career”.”In this ever changing broadcast landscape the next DG will need to build on Lord Hall’s success,” she wrote on Twitter.McAlpine rowIn a letter to staff, Lord Hall said he believed he would be “leaving the BBC in a much stronger place than when I joined”.His appointment in 2012 followed the resignation of George Entwistle in the wake of the Newsnight Lord McAlpine row.
Analysis – BBC media editor Amol RaganTony Hall has been an effective Director-General of the BBC, while probably having a tougher job than any of his predecessors.His leadership of Britain’s most important cultural organisation can be split into three chapters.He joined at a time of enormous crisis and difficulty, following the revelations over Jimmy Savile, the disgraceful mistreatment of Lord McAlpine, and the disastrous, short reign of his predecessor George Entwistle. (Tim Davie had been interim).That first chapter was a case of steadying the ship, and crisis management, where he is widely thought to have performed well.Read more from Amol here.
Lord Hall’s departure comes amid another turbulent time for the broadcaster, with issues around equal pay disputes, political bias, diversity and TV licences at the top of its agenda.Earlier this month presenter Samira Ahmed won an employment tribunal in a dispute over equal pay, while radio presenter Sarah Montague has confirmed she won a settlement and an apology from the BBC after being treated “unequally”.The BBC has also faced criticism over its reporting on the recent general election, presenter pay and a lack of diversity both on and off screen.Last year TV presenter and campaigner June Sarpong was appointed the BBC’s first director of creative diversity in a bid to improve the BBC’s “on-air talent portrayal”.Other developments during Lord Hall’s tenure include the growth of BBC iPlayer and the increasing success of BBC Studios.Last week he outlined a plan that will see at least two thirds of the corporation’s staff based outside London by 2027.Lord Hall, 68, joined the corporation as a trainee in the Belfast newsroom in 1973.He became editor of the Nine O’Clock News at the age of 34 and was appointed chief executive of BBC News in 1996.Before becoming the BBC’s 16th director general, his roles included being chief executive of the Royal Opera House and deputy chairman of Channel 4.Lord Hall, whose official title is Lord Hall of Birkenhead, was made a cross-bench peer in 2010.Reaction to newsBonnie Greer, who served alongside Lord Hall on the Royal Opera House board, noted that the BBC had been going through a difficult period.”I think it’s been a lot of pressure for the organisation and a lot of pressure for him,” the playwright and critic said on The Victoria Derbyshire Show.Talent agent Jonathan Shalit said Lord Hall had been “fantastic” in the director general role and that it was “normal” for someone in his position to move on after seven years.”He was going to be moving on soon,” he told the same BBC programme. “I think the point he makes about making sure one person oversees the midway point of the licence fee is important.”
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