Tony Hall began work as the sixteenth BBC director general this morning, and is spending much of his first day speaking to staff about how to improve the corporation's reputation.
- May 23, 2019
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- May 15, 2019
Lord Hall, 62, was the only person contacted by the BBC to replace George Entwistle in November, having already narrowly missed out on the job in 1999 to Greg Dyke.
Entwistle stepped down from the £450,000-a-year director general post after just 54 days in the wake of the Savile scandal and Lord McAlpine sexual abuse allegations.
Lord Hall said the BBC was “learning lessons” from these “difficult times”.
He said: "We are now winning back trust, something which will always be the most precious commodity for our organisation.” He added: "We must never take it for granted."
During his first week, Hall is going on a tour of the country to get views from BBC staff and viewers outside of London, according to The Daily Telegraph. He will listen to concerns and ideas on how to restore public faith in the BBC’s damaged reputation.
Hall has already appointed former Labour Culture Secretary James Purnell as director of strategy and digital, but he still needs to find a new director of television and director of news. At the moment these roles are being temporarily filled by Roger Mosey and Fran Unsworth respectively.
Having joined the BBC as a trainee in 1973, Hall became head of news and current affairs in 1996, and oversaw the launch of Radio 5 live, BBC News 24, the BBC News website and BBC Parliament.
Restoring the BBC’s reputation is not Hall’s only challenge – he has to contend with low staff morale; fights with unions over job cuts, pay and rising work load; renegotiating the licence fee; and the upcoming royal charter renewal.
The ongoing dispute over job cuts could see the the NUJ hold strikes timed to disrupt key events such as Wimbledon or the political party conferences. According to The Daily Telegraph, Hall has already rejected union calls for the BBC to renegotiate the current licence fee freeze.