• Hall to quit the BBC in the summer
  • He has served as director general for over seven years
  • BBC to seek replacement in the coming weeks

Tony Hall at RTS

Tony Hall at RTS Conference 2019

Tony Hall will step down from his role of director general of the BBC in the summer, after seven years heading up the British broadcaster.

Hall was named DG in 2013, replacing BBC Studios chief executive Tim Davie who stepped into the role temporarily following the resignation of George Entwistle.

Hall had previously served as BBC director of news from 1993 to 2001, when he left to become chief executive of the UK Royal Opera House.

Among his career achievements are the launch of BBC Parliament, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC News 24, and BBC News Online.

The chairman of the BBC, David Clementi, said: “Tony Hall is an inspirational creative leader, within the UK and around the globe, and the BBC has been lucky to have him as our director general for the last seven years.

“Tony has led the BBC with integrity and a passion for our values that is obvious to everyone who meets him. His reforms have shaped the BBC for the future and he will leave the BBC in the summer with our gratitude and our very best wishes.”

Clementi said the BBC will now seek Hall’s successor by advertising a job description both internally and externally in the next few weeks.

Hall, in a letter to BBC staff, said it has been a “hard decision” for him to step down, but said he felt it was important that someone else leads the broadcaster through the second-half of its 11-year charter (that runs to 2027), including a mid-term review due in 2022.

He wrote to staff: “First, thanks to you and your great work I believe I’ll be leaving the BBC in a much stronger place than when I joined. It feels a very different organisation - more innovative; more open; more inclusive; more efficient; more commercially aware. And a BBC that’s on cracking creative form. You all have my thanks and admiration for the part you’ve played in that success.

“As our country enters its next chapter it needs a strong BBC, a BBC that can champion the nation’s creativity at home and abroad, and help play its part in bringing the UK together. In an era of fake news, we remain the gold standard of impartiality and truth. What the BBC is, and what it stands for, is precious for this country. We ignore that at our peril.

“Finally, we must and can never standstill. We have to keep adapting, reforming and leading. Our values are timeless but the need for constant change is ever-present. The BBC has changed hugely in recent years - and that’s going to continue. We have to embrace the opportunities it brings.”

The National Gallery has subsequently announced Hall will become chair of its board of trustees.

Hall’s predecessor Mark Thompson, now CEO at the New York Times, has warned that moving the BBC to a subscription model would be the “end of the BBC as we know it”.

Thompson, speaking on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, said it would be “possible” to remodel the broadcaster on SVoD services like Netflix, but warned that doing so would mean it would no longer be “a universal service paid for by everyone and used by everyone”.

He was speaking amidst reports that the UK government is considering decriminalising the BBC License Fee. Currently, those who own a TV in the UK but do not pay a Licence Fee can be fined, but the government is reportedly debating whether to cease prosecution of those who don’t pay, effectively making it an optional payment.

Thompson told Andrew Marr: “Once you decriminalise you delegitimise a given service or a given tax. Because all the people who still pay it feel they can see other people still enjoying the service for nothing.

“I worry that decriminalisation is a de facto abolition of the licence fee but without the courage to say that.”