LONDON — Tony Hall, CEO of Britain’s Royal Opera House, was named on Thursday as head of the BBC after the previous director-general quit over the corporation’s reporting of child sex abuse.
Mr Hall takes over as the BBC, the world’s largest public broadcaster, struggles with a major crisis sparked by allegations that one of its top stars, the late Jimmy Savile, was a serial child sex offender.
"We can confirm that Tony Hall has been appointed as the new director-general of the BBC," said a spokeswoman for the corporation’s governing body, the BBC Trust.
Mr Hall was head of news at the BBC between 1996 and 2001 before leaving to take charge of the Royal Opera House.
"As an ex-BBC man he understands how the corporation’s culture and behaviour make it, at its best, the greatest broadcaster in the world," said Chris Patten, head of the BBC Trust.
"And from his vantage point outside the BBC, he understands the sometimes justified criticisms of the corporation — that it can be inward looking and on occasions too institutional."
Mr Hall’s predecessor, George Entwistle, dramatically resigned on November 10 over a botched report by the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight, which wrongly implicated a politician in child sex abuse.
Mr Entwistle had spent the majority of his 54 days in the top job dealing with the fallout from allegations about Savile, who died last year aged 84.
The BBC described Mr Hall, who is currently deputy chairman of the commercial Channel 4 television station, as a "digital pioneer" who had launched the broadcaster’s online service and 24-hour news channel.
It said that Mr Hall, who is a life member of Britain’s upper house of parliament, was expected to start in early March, with acting director-general Tim Davie remaining in the post until then.
Mr Hall will earn £450,000 a year in the BBC’s top job.