George Entwistle named as new BBC director general

LONDON Wed Jul 4, 2012 1:01pm BST

A logo for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is seen at its Broadcasting House in central London October 31, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A logo for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is seen at its Broadcasting House in central London October 31, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - The BBC named George Entwistle, currently director of vision, as its new director general on Wednesday.

Entwistle will take up his new role in August from outgoing director general Mark Thompson but at a lower salary - 450,000 pounds a year as opposed to Thompson's 671,000.

Entwistle beat his BBC colleague and the corporation's chief operating officer Caroline Thomson to the role. Ed Richards, chief executive of media regulator Ofcom, was also shortlisted.

"George is a creative leader for a creative organisation," said BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten in a statement.

Entwistle was responsible for the corporation's coverage of the Queen's Jubilee river procession, which was widely criticised by viewers over a perceived lack of gravitas.

He was selected by a panel from the BBC Trust, the governing body of the BBC.

Entwistle's first priority as the most powerful television executive in Britain will be to prepare the state broadcaster for the review of its Royal Charter which expires in 2016.

The charter sets out how the corporation should be funded, what it does and how it is managed.

Thompson, the longest serving director general at the BBC since the 1970s, is stepping down from the position after an eight year tenure in which he faced battered morale, assaults from Rupert Murdoch's empire and threats to the corporation's funding in times of austerity.

He was appointed to the role in 2004 as the corporation hit rock bottom following a very public spat with the government over its coverage of the build up to the Iraq war.

With staff staging spontaneous walk-outs in disgust at criticism of its editorial standards, Thompson steadied the corporation and slowly rebuilt trust with the public and government.

(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Steve Addison)

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