Tony Hall to stand down as BBC Director-General

Tony Hall, Lord Hall of Birkenhead CBE, is standing down from the role of BBC Director-General this summer.

He’s been in the role for the last seven years, having taken over as permanent replacement for George Entwistle in 2013. It was a return to the BBC for him where he previously spent 27 years as a Producer, Editor and Director of News.

During his 11 years running BBC News he was responsible for the launches of BBC Parliament, News 24, BBC News Online and Radio 5 Live.

The Chairman of the BBC, Sir David Clementi, says: “Tony Hall is an inspirational creative leader, within the UK and around the globe, and the BBC has been lucky to have him as our Director-General for the last seven years.

“Tony has led the BBC with integrity and a passion for our values that is obvious to everyone who meets him. His reforms have shaped the BBC for the future and he will leave the BBC in the summer with our gratitude and our very best wishes.

“Responsibility for appointing his successor lies with the BBC Board. Within the next few weeks we will publish a job description and advertise the job, seeking candidates within the Corporation and externally. We are committed to selecting the best qualified person for the job.”

Below is an all-staff email from Tony Hall announcing his decision to stand down and an all-staff email from Sir David Clementi on next steps.

Tony Hall message to all BBC staff

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,

Tony

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19 Comments
  1. Sue says

    Looks like he is getting out before it all kicks off over them scrapping the free over 75 license fee.
    Maybe if they stopped wasting money on the likes of radio 4 on long wave & 5live & MW transmissions.

    1. Mr Boltar says

      I’ve a better idea – stop wasting money on a not fit for purpose 1980s digital system called DAB and spend the savings on upgrading the FM system and keep AM going.

      1. mb23 says

        The rest of Europe is scrapping AM and investing in DAB+. The UK may be leaving the EU but we will be driving the same cars as the 27 EU countries. All new cars in the EU will be required to have DAB+/DAB fitted as standard from next year, and it’s unlikely they will have AM.

        DAB+ uses a codec which was finalised in 2006. It sounds fine at 48kbps and there is room for at least 20 stations on a multiplex, far more than FM could ever provide.

        1. neal says

          Well even with my ears at the wrong side of fifty I can sure as hell hear the difference between an FM transmission as against a DAB one at 48kbps and every chance mono to boot! One guess as to which one sounds rubbish?! But go ahead slap DAB in all new cars then there will be no option but to have to take it up and subsequently have all of you tell us how popular DAB is!

          1. mb23 says

            You’re getting confused between the original DAB standard (which uses MP2 coding) and DAB+ (which uses the more efficient HE-AAC coding).

            48kbps is the optimal bit rate for DAB+, and there is no reason to use mono at this bit rate. Stereo transmissions sound fine.

        2. Mr Boltar says

          AAC+ does NOT sound fine at 48kbs (unless you have cloth ears or a 5 quid radio). Yes it sounds better than AM but its awful compared to a good stereo FM signal.

  2. Rob says

    BBC needs either John Humphrys, Piers Morgan, Nick Ferrari, Dom Cummings or Lawrence Fox as new DG to sort itself out.

    1. Joe Smith says

      No chance. A short list of non-white, non-male candidates is being prepared as we speak.

      1. Jonty Bilson says

        You’re joking right? A pound to a penny it will be a woman.

        1. Joe Smith says

          I think you will find a woman is a non-male!

      2. DaveH says

        … and the problem with that is? If any of them are right for the job, surely a refreshing appointment for the white, stale, male radio/broadcast industry.

        1. Joe Smith says

          What’s right is to appoint the best candidate irrespective of colour, gender or any other type of discrimination.

          1. DaveH says

            Of course. But your comment alludes to the fact that anyone in those categories would not be as qualified as white male by default. The problem with the whole industry…

    2. Mr Boltar says

      I suspect Nick Ferrari will only leave LBC once in his coffin. He’s got his feet under the desk and they’re nailed down.

  3. DaveP says

    Looking forward to reading the Job Description for this post when advertised. Remember reading the vacancy for Controller of Radio 4 which was incomprehensible to anyone with a knowledge of basic English! Assume no radio or television experience will be required,

    1. mb23 says

      In the past most of them have had significant experience at the BBC as journalists or producers.

      Greg Dyke & John Birt were the exceptions to this, as they came from ITV.

  4. Radio Geordie says

    If only John Myers was still with us. He’d probably would’ve made a brilliant DG.

    Coming from a commercial background he would’ve got rid of all those extra layers of middle managers which the Beeb is full of today. Not only that, he would employ people on account of their talent rather than because they tick a number of boxes.

  5. Mike Rose says

    I wonder if Ashley Tabor will apply…

    1. Mr Boltar says

      He’s probably already asked around as to whether any BBC local stations are for sale that he could convert into Heart relays.

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