BBC Director General Issues Clarion Call to Staff on His First Day

Tony Hall – P 2013
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Tony Hall says the public broadcaster will look to maximize its brand and content overseas and cannot be complacent after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

LONDON --  BBC director general Tony Hall's first act in his new role was to boost staff morale at the public broadcaster, sending an email describing the corporation as a "very special organization."

Hall told journalists and program-makers that the BBC is coming to grips with lessons learned after the fallout from the Jimmy Savile scandal, which ended Hall predecessor George Entwistle's tenure as DG after just 54 days in the job.

Hall wrote in his email: "It is a great honor to start today as director general of the BBC. This is a very special organization. It enriches millions of lives every day, here and the world over. It provokes strong opinions because people care passionately about it. The BBC has a unique history, a special place in the country's heart and a vital part to play in its future. So I have a very real sense of the responsibility that comes with the role."

Hall praised acting director general Tim Davie, for picking up the baton and running with it after Entwistle's shocking exit amid the Savile scandal in November 2012.

Hall made reference to recent times being "difficult for the BBC, but obviously far more so for those directly affected by these events. We are learning the lessons and thanks to the hard work of staff across the organization under Tim [Davie]'s excellent leadership, the BBC has moved forward."

Hall also claimed that the BBC is now "winning back trust, something which will always be the most precious commodity for our organization," adding that it must never take the trust for granted.

"I am confident about the future for the BBC for two key reasons: the caliber and quality of its people and the values we all share."

The former head of BBC News, returning to the corporation after more than a decade running the Royal Opera House, outlined eight key questions the BBC needs to work through as it attempts to recover from the Savile scandal.

While making no direct mention of the Savile saga, Hall said the BBC needed to ask how the organization could make more of the BBC brand and content in the global marketplace.

He also said the corporation will need to assess what the next big trends in technology and consumption might be to allow the BBC to "grasp as we did with BBC Online and iPlayer."

Hall arrived via public transport at the BBC's New Broadcasting House headquarters in central London and a press conference for other broadcasters.

But he saved his call to arms for a rallying call for staff.

"I am proud to be leading the BBC as we start this next chapter together. We have always been pioneers. As we move towards our centenary, it is time for the BBC to be self-confident and optimistic about the future. You produce brilliant programs and content, day in, day out," Hall wrote. "There can be no complacency, but I firmly believe, with imagination and hard work, the BBC's best days lie ahead of us."