Marketer Davie steps in as BBC director general

Former marketer Tim Davie has stepped in to the role of BBC director general, following the resignation of George Entwistle over the incorrect child abuse claims made on Newsnight last week.

Tim Davie
BBC’s acting director general Tim Davie.

Davie, who is currently the BBC’s director of audio and music and is due to become the chief executive of BBC Worldwide, will take on the top role at the public service broadcaster on an interim basis.

Prior to his current role, which he took on in 2008, Davie was the director of the BBC’s marketing communications and audiences division. Before that he looked after marketing and franchises for PepsiCo Europe, where he oversaw the global brand marketing territories outside the US and also worked in P&G’s marketing department in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He will be charged with trying to rebuild trust in the public service broadcaster, which has also recently been dealing with the fallout of the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.

Entwistle is stepping down after just seven weeks in the post after taking responsibility for the Newsnight report, which falsely implicated the former Conservative party chairman Lord McAlpine as being a child abuser.

The BBC has now issued an apology after one of the victims interviewed in the report admitted he had wrongly identified Lord McAlpine as one of his abusers.

Entwistle said in a statement on Saturday (10 November) evening: “When appointed to the role, with 23 years’ experience as a producer and leader at the BBC, I was confident the trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead. However, the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader.”

Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC trust, said Saturday was “undoubtedly one of the saddest nights in my public like” but added that Entwistle’s was right to take responsibility for the “shoddy journalism” in the report.

The BBC’s head of news Helen Boaden and deputy Stephen Mitchell have also “stepped aside” from their roles following the Newsnight scandal.

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