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Monday, 20 January 2020

Tony Hall to Step Down as BBC Director General

Tony Hall is to step down as Director General of the BBC.

Hall announced the news in his regular weekly email to all staff, the full text of which was later published on the BBC website:
Dear colleagues,

First of all, thank you for all your comments and feedback since I spoke to you from Cardiff last week. It was really important to me to set a clear direction for us, as well as celebrating some of the outstanding work you're doing.

My reason for writing is however more personal. I wanted you to be the first to know that I will give my all to this organisation for the next six months, as I have done these last seven years. But in the summer I'll step down as your Director General.

It's been such a hard decision for me. I love the BBC. I'm passionate about our values and the role we have in our country - and what we do globally too.

If I followed my heart I would genuinely never want to leave. However, I believe that an important part of leadership is putting the interests of the organisation first. The BBC has an eleven-year Charter - our mission is secure until 2027. But we also have a mid-term review process for the spring of 2022. As I said last week, we have to develop our ideas for both. And it must be right that the BBC has one person to lead it through both stages.

Over the next six months my priority, as always, will be to champion this great organisation and continue to direct our re-invention. There's so much we can do to transform the creative industries around the UK still further and to project this country’s talent and ideas to the world.

Our Chairman, David Clementi, will begin the search for my successor and he'll let you know how that will work shortly.

We'll have plenty of time to talk in the months ahead but I'd like to share three thoughts with you today.

First, thanks to you and your great work I believe I'll be leaving the BBC in a much stronger place than when I joined. It feels a very different organisation - more innovative; more open; more inclusive; more efficient; more commercially aware. And a BBC that's on cracking creative form. You all have my thanks and admiration for the part you've played in that success.

Change has been tough at times - and, of course, there's still more to do. But I believe our recent record of transformation stands comparison with virtually any other creative organisation in the world.

Second, without question, our values have never been more relevant to the society we live in. As our country enters its next chapter it needs a strong BBC, a BBC that can champion the nation's creativity at home and abroad, and help play its part in bringing the UK together. In an era of fake news, we remain the gold standard of impartiality and truth. What the BBC is, and what it stands for, is precious for this country. We ignore that at our peril.

Finally, we must and can never stand still. We have to keep adapting, reforming and leading. Our values are timeless but the need for constant change is ever-present. The BBC has changed hugely in recent years - and that's going to continue. We have to embrace the opportunities it brings.

We'll be working flat out, across the Executive Committee, to implement the priorities I talked to you about last week, and to demonstrate why public service broadcasting - with the BBC at its heart - is an eternal idea.

Very best wishes,

Hall first joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1973. After several internal promotions he was appointed as the Director of BBC News and Current Affairs in 1990. In 1999 he applied for the role of Director General, but was pipped at the post by Greg Dyke.

Hall continued to lead BBC News until 2001, when he took up alternative employment as the Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House. He returned to the BBC as Director General in April 2013 and will step down this summer.

The BBC will shortly begin the task of selecting a replacement.

Names being mentioned as potential candidates include Sharon White, the former Chief Executive of Ofcom who now chairs John Lewis Partnership; Gail Rebuck, the Chair of the British arm of book publishing giant Penguin Random House; and the Channel 4 Chief Executive, Alex Mahon.

Possible internal candidates include Director of Content, Charlotte Moore; Director of Radio and Education, James Purnell; and Director of News and Current Affairs, Fran Unsworth.

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Anonymous said...

"In an era of fake news, we remain the gold standard of impartiality and truth."

It takes real talent to make Goebbels ROFL in his grave, so I congratulate Tony.

Chris_2812 said...

And how much will he be paid when he leaves? :( I swear these people just take on this role for the end of contract pay.