George Entwistle has been appointed the new director general of the BBC, ending months of speculation about who would get the top job in TV.
Mark Thompson will hand over to his successor, currently director of Vision, in the autumn following the summer’s main event - the London 2012 Olympics.
Entwistle will be on roughly two-thirds of Thompson’s salary, which drops from £675,000 to £450,000.
BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said: “George is a creative leader for a creative organisation.
“His experience of making and delivering great programmes that audiences love - built up through many years of working for the corporation - will prove invaluable as he and his team work to ensure the BBC remains the greatest broadcaster in the world.
“Above all George is passionate about the BBC, is committed to its public service ethos and has a clear vision for how it can harness the creativity and commitment of its staff to continue to serve audiences in ever more innovative ways.”
Of the favourites in the running for the role, Entwistle had the greatest programme experience, but his rise to the top job has been fast.
Just 14 months ago he was made director of Vision - and prior to that he was controller of Knowledge commissioning. He is also currently the advisory chair of the Edinburgh International TV Festival.
Entwistle said: “I’m delighted that the chairman and trustees have decided I’m the right person for the job. And I’m very excited about all that lies ahead. I love the BBC and it’s a privilege to be asked to lead it into the next stage of its creative life.”
Thompson said: “I think this is a brilliant appointment. George has shown himself to be an outstanding leader with an intuitive understanding of public sector broadcasting. He has a formidable track record as a programme maker and in recent years has also shown his calibre as a leader. I wish him and the BBC every success in the years to come.”
Patten went on to pay tribute to Thompson, saying his “creativity, vision and leadership have made him an outstanding director-general of the BBC and he will be sorely missed.”
This article first appeared on Screen’s sister publication Broadcast.