Could YOU be the next BBC director-general?

The advert's up online – you've got until 7 May to get your CV into shape…


Are you a compelling communicator? Would you describe yourself as resilient? Do your colleagues think of you as a creative leader and strategic thinker? Do you feel you understand the UK?


If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, there’s a job for you out there: director-general of the BBC! These qualities are all described as “must have” for respondents to an advertisement that has appeared on the BBC careers website.

Other essential characteristics include “editorial judgement” – so if you’ve ever annoyed the government with unverifiable reports on the eve of a war, or left insulting messages on a comedy legend’s answering machine, you can forget it – as well as “change leadership” and, of course, an “understanding of the values underpinning the BBC”.

More interesting are the skills listed as merely “nice to have”: experience as a journalist and/or programme-maker is described as “desirable but not essential”. Also a plus, but not a dealbreaker, is “commercial acumen”.

And don’t worry if your IT skills are a bit rusty, because it looks like you’ll be able to busk it: the advert, produced by blue-chip recruitment firm Egon Zehnder International, fails completely to mention what level of proficiency is required in Word, Excel or even Powerpoint.

“The Trust is looking for an inspirational leader with the strong, clear vision that will be needed to take the BBC through the next review of the corporation’s Charter, ready for the world as it will be in ten or 15 years’ time,” the job description says.

The advert is coy about the exact level of remuneration the role carries, saying only that it “will reflect the unique challenge and privilege of leading the BBC, as well as the fact that it is financed by licence fee payers”. 

Amid cutbacks across the Beeb, however, the lucky applicant can expect to receive less than the £671,000 trousered every year by the current DG, Mark Thompson.

Thompson announced last month that he intends to leave his post this autumn.

TV execs rumoured to be in the running for the job include the BBC’s director of vision, George Entwistle, director of news Helen Boaden, chief operating officer Caroline Thomson and external candidates such as Channel 4 boss David Abraham and ITV director of television Peter Fincham. 


The deadline for applications – which must be in the form of a CV plus covering letter “briefly outlining [your] views on the challenges and opportunities facing the BBC” – is 7 May. The advert quite clearly states that “late applications will not be accepted”.