Reposted from The Guardian
George Entwistle has been named as the new director general of the BBC. Currently the corporation's director of vision and a former editor of Newsnight, Entwistle will take over from Mark Thompson in the autumn on a salary of £450,000 a year. Entwistle beat his BBC colleague and the corporation's chief operating officer Caroline Thomson to the role. Ed Richards, chief executive of media regulator Ofcom, was also shortlisted.
Announcing the appointment on Wednesday, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said: "George is a creative leader for a creative organisation. 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. 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."
Entwistle, who was Thompson's preferred candidate as his successor, said: "I'm delighted that the chairman and trustees have decided I'm the right person for the job.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, who announced in March that he would step down after the London Olympics after eight years in charge, said: "I think this is a brilliant appointment. "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 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."
Patten paid tribute to Thompson, saying his "creativity, vision and leadership have made him an outstanding director general of the BBC and he will be sorely missed."
This is the memo he sent to BBC staff when his appointment was announced:
I'm delighted the Chairman and Trustees think I'm the right person for the job.
Mark Thompson will be a tough act to follow. But it's a privilege to be asked to lead the greatest broadcasting organisation in the world and a privilege to be able to continue to serve our audiences in this new role.
I am proud to have worked with so many talented people across the BBCand am very much looking forward to working with all of you in future.
You won't be hearing a lot from me over the next couple of months, because Mark will be leading us through the great summer we have planned and I want to spend as much time as I can listening to you and hearing what you think the future holds.
All the best,
The pay for the role has been hugely reduced by more than £200,000. Thompson – who has held the role since 2004 – is currently paid £671,000, giving an indication of the general belt-tightening for BBC executives.
Entwistle's chances were at one stage thought to have diminished in the wake of the much-criticised BBC coverage of the Diamond Jubilee pageant, which came under his responsibility.