Some wonder whether he can do the two jobs at once. Running the World Service demands a lot of travel, and there are fevered negotiations to be carried out with the Foreign Office about threatened cuts in funding. Can Mr Phillis do all this and be an effective deputy to John Birt? Machiavellians - and there are many at the BBC - see Mr Birt's hand behind all this, speculating that a strong, interventionist deputy is the last thing he wants.
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BOB PHILLIS, the new deputy director-general of the BBC, finally took up his post this week, arriving from Independent Television News, where he was chief executive. He is also to be managing director of the BBC World Service, a post he was going to fill for a few months but which, say friends, he seems keen to take on permanently.