New Director General Appointed At BBC

24 May 2004

State broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation, has named Mark Thompson, chief executive of Channel 4 television, as its new director general.

Thompson's appointment ends months of crisis for the broadcaster which was thrown into turmoil after the resignation of Greg Dyke in January.

Dyke quit in the aftermath of the Hutton Report, a judicial inquiry which was heavily critical of the BBC's journalism and management.

The inquiry followed the death of a government scientist who was the source for a controversial BBC report about the intelligence services in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Thompson, who left the BBC two years ago to head commercial network Channel 4, initially indicated he wasn't interested in the post.

After the appointment, which received widespread approval, Thomson called the BBC "the greatest broadcasting organisation in the world," and went on to say the broadcaster "has a very special part in British life".

Although Thompson's appointment will go a long way to help restore shattered morale at the BBC it poses problems for Channel 4.

Thompson was spearheading a plan for a possible merger between Channel 4, hit by falling audiences and advertising revenue, and commercial network Five.

Just days before accepting the BBC post he was indicating he intended remaining with the network.

It is unclear how soon he will take over at the BBC but it is likely that he will be released early from his Channel 4 contract.

Date sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff