George Entwistle (pictured), the former head of BBC Knowledge, has landed the top job at the British public broadcaster and will take over from current director-general Mark Thompson this fall.
Thompson announced his intention to leave the British Broadcasting Corporation in March this year, after the conclusion of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. He departs after more than eight years in the role.
Entwistle, meanwhile, becomes the Corporation’s 15th director-general since Sir John Reith first took on the role in 1927.
He is currently serving as director of BBC Vision, overseeing the UK public broadcaster’s television portfolio. Before taking on that role, he was previously head of BBC Knowledge, the Beeb’s factual division.
In a statement, Thompson said: “George has shown himself to be an outstanding leader with an intuitive understanding of public sector broadcasting. He has a formidable track record as a program-maker and in recent years has also shown his caliber as a leader. I wish him and the BBC every success in the years to come.”
As director-general, Entwistle will be paid £450,000 (US$704,000) per year, a notable reduction on the £671,000 Thompson is currently paid, and in line with the BBC’s efforts to reduce top-level salaries.
The appointment was announced today (July 4) by the BBC Trust, the broadcaster’s governing body. In a statement, Trust chairman Lord Patten said: “George is a creative leader for a creative organization.
“His experience of making and delivering great programs 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.
“Above all George is passionate about the BBC, is committed to its public service ethos and has a clear vision for how it can harness the creativity and commitment of its staff to continue to serve audiences in ever more innovative ways.”
Lord Patten also paid tribute to the outgoing Thompson: “His creativity, vision and leadership have made him an outstanding director-general of the BBC and he will be sorely missed.”