George Entwistle takes over as BBC boss

 

George Entwistle starts work as director-general of the BBC tomorrow and is expected to explain his vision of the corporation's future to staff later in the week.

The 50-year-old takes over from Mark Thompson who will become president and chief executive of the New York Times Company in November.

Entwistle will take on a much-reduced salary of £450,000, a £200,000-plus reduction on that paid to the outgoing boss.

He will send a short email message to staff on Monday but is expected to speak at greater length and outline some of the challenges facing the corporation in a speech a few days later.

He will meet BBC staff and programme-makers in London and outside the capital at some point in the week as well.

Among the challenges he faces are maintaining quality and staff morale with less money than his predecessor had for much of his time at the top and negotiating the renewal of the BBC charter in 2016.

He has previously been a current affairs programme-maker and until recently was in charge of the corporation's TV output as head of BBC Vision.

When his appointment was announced in July, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said both he and Entwistle thought there was room for improvement and they agreed the BBC could be "10% or 20% better" despite the cuts brought in after the latest licence fee settlement.

Speaking at the time, Entwistle said: "I love the BBC and it's a privilege to be asked to lead it into the next stage of its creative life."

Among those he is thought to have beaten to the top job were Ed Richards, the chief executive of Ofcom who was seen as the frontrunner, and the BBC's chief operating officer Caroline Thomson.

His 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.

Entwistle joined the BBC as a trainee in 1989 after a short career in magazine journalism. He went on to be editor of Newsnight, head of current affairs with responsibility for programmes such as Panorama and was an acting controller of BBC4.

PA

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