Friday 5 June 2020 11:20 am

BBC appoints Tim Davie as new director general

The BBC has named Tim Davie as its new director general, bringing to an end months of speculation over the successor to outgoing boss Tony Hall.

Davie, who is currently chief executive of BBC Studios, will take up the role in September.

Davie is one of the corporation’s longest-serving executives and stepped in as acting director general following the resignation of George Entwistle in 2012.

“Tim has a strong track record as the chief executive of BBC Studios and is one of the most respected names in the industry,” said BBC chairman Sir David Clementi.

“We know that the industry is undergoing unprecedented change and the organisation faces significant challenges as well as opportunities. I am confident that Tim is the right person to lead the BBC as it continues to reform and change.”

In January Tony Hall announced he was stepping down as director general after seven years in the role.

The shock announcement sparked fierce speculation over Hall’s successor for arguably the most prestigious job in British media.

Davie was long-tipped as the favourite for the position as the corporation’s 17th director general.

He fended off competition from the BBC’s head of content Charlotte Moore and Will Lewis, former publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

Amazon’s UK boss Douglas Gurr was also reportedly in the running.

Davie’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the BBC, which has been grappling with a decline in viewer figures, especially among young audiences, as well as political pressure over the licence fee system.

However, the Covid-19 crisis has since sparked fresh challenges for the public service broadcaster’s new boss.

While the BBC has enjoyed booming demand for its services since the start of the health crisis, it is also now battling a £125m hole in its finances on top of previously announced cost-cutting measures.

“This has been a critical time for the UK and these past few months have shown just how much the BBC matters to people,” Davie said in a statement.

“Our mission has never been more relevant, important or necessary. I have a deep commitment to content of the highest quality and impartiality.

“Looking forward, we will need to accelerate change so that we serve all our audiences in this fast-moving world.  Much great work has been done, but we will continue to reform, make clear choices and stay relevant.”