THE BBC’s Director General Tony Hall quit yesterday — paving the way for the corporation’s first ever female leader.
Lord Hall, 68, said he would have “never” left the plum job if he could, but said the Beeb needed change ahead of its mid-term review in 2022 and the renewal of its charter in 2027.
The BBC’s chairman, Sir David Clementi, said the search for the BBC’s next leader — who is paid more than the prime minister at £450,000 a year — would begin “within the next few weeks”.
Those tipped for the job include the Beeb’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore, the former deputy director general Anne Bulford, and Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs.
Also in the frame is Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon and former Ofcom boss Sharon White but James Purnell, the former Labour politician and now the BBC’s director of radio and education is the bookies’ favourite.
In a letter to staff, Lord Hall said he believed he would be “leaving the BBC in a much stronger place than when I joined”.
He added: “Change has been tough at times. But I believe our recent record of transformation stands comparison with virtually any other creative organisation in the world.”
Lord Hall’s departure from the BBC comes amid another turbulent time for the broadcaster, with issues around equal pay disputes, political bias, diversity and TV licences at the top of its agenda.
Earlier this month presenter Samira Ahmed won an employment tribunal in a dispute over equal pay, while radio presenter Sarah Montague has confirmed she won a settlement and an apology from the BBC after being treated “unequally”
The BBC has also faced criticism over its reporting on the recent general election, star salaries and a lack of diversity both on and off screen.
The National Gallery yesterday announced Lord Hall had been appointed chair of its board of trustees.