New Director-General: Yentob set to benefit under new regime

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE RUMOUR mill at the BBC is already in full throttle over who will do well under Greg Dyke, and who is likely to suffer. The BBC Television boss Alan Yentob is expected to be a key beneficiary of the Dyke appointment. The two men have met in recent weeks to discuss how they might run the corporation as a "dream team".

"Greg is a great boss and a strategist, while Alan has the creative skills and inside knowledge of how the BBC works," said a BBC executive. Mr Yentob was a finalist in the race to be DG but, say insiders, was considered to be too disorganised to take on the top job.

Friends say that, despite Mr Yentob's disappointment, he is unlikely to leave the BBC, and instead is likely to bed himself into a good relationship with Mr Dyke - possibly as his deputy.

Other BBC bosses, though, will be less sure of their future. A breed of "Young Turks" who have done well under Sir John Birt will, say insiders, have to prove themselves all over again under a Dyke regime.

They point to Matthew Bannister, the head of BBC Production, who has risen to one of the top jobs in television despite his broadcasting experience being almost exclusively in radio. "Bannister is a systems man, and John Birt loves systems," said a BBC executive.

Mark Byford, the newly appointed head of the World Service, has also shot up through the ranks spurred on by unfettered enthusiasm for Birtist reforms. "He made it to the shortlist to be DG because he is so good at sounding like John Birt," said a colleague. "Who knows if that will earn him brownie points with Greg?"

Former colleagues of Mr Dyke say he is likely to respect people like himself who have grassroots journalistic and programme experience. That approach could benefit the third Young Turk, Mark Thompson, who has risen fast to become the boss of the BBC regions. His background, however, includes "coalface" experience as an editor of Newsnight and Panorama and a successful stint as Controller of BBC2.

Speculation is rife, however, as to how Mr Dyke will respond to the BBC bureaucrats at Corporate Centre, who have benefited under John Birt's "systems approach". The head of policy and planning, Patricia Hodgson, has been Sir John's right-hand woman as he has made controversial changes including the introduction of an internal market, "Producer Choice", and the expansion of the corporation into numerous digital channels.She also acted as the boss of Sir John's "think-tank" and a question mark hangs over whether Mr Dyke will want different faces to run different strategies.

Huge speculation also hangs on how well Mr Dyke will work with his closest rival for the DG top - Television News boss Tony Hall. Mr Dyke, like Mr Hall, is a news man, and will take a close interest in how the news empire is run.

Comments