Friday was Mark Thompson’s last day as Director General at the BBC. He’s leaving to run the New York Times and being replaced by Director of BBC Vision George Entwistle.
Before he left, he sent the obligatory goodbye email, and this is what it said:
As you know, I’m passing the baton to George Entwistle this weekend and on Monday he will take over as the fifteenth Director-General of the BBC. I just want to sign off by doing two things.
The first is to thank everyone for your amazing work and your kindness and support for me over my time as DG. I feel I’ve asked so much of everyone, piling all sorts of new projects and pressures on top of what were already very demanding jobs and yet, time and again, you’ve responded brilliantly and (most of the time!) uncomplainingly. I’m so proud of what’s been achieved not by me, but by all of you – and never more so than during this amazing summer of 2012. We’ve never recorded higher scores for trust and appreciation of the BBC and that’s entirely down to you.
The second thing is to wish George and all of you every success in the future. I first got to know George when I was editing Panorama and he was a researcher on the programme. He’s a programme-maker through and through and I know he will always put creativity first in all of his plans for the BBC. Sometimes, especially from the inside, the BBC can feel vulnerable and isolated. But it has more talent to call on than any media player anywhere, it has embraced the digital era with gusto, and – as we’ve seen this summer – it has the British public right behind it. The BBC is a great British success story and it’s going to go on being a success story. So good luck – and enjoy it.
All the best,
George Entwistle, who has no radio background, takes over as DG today. He was announced in July as Mark’s replacement, when he 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.”
Mark Thompson 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.”