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Who will replace Tony Hall as BBC Director-General?

The BBC will soon start looking for a successor to the crucial role. Here's some of the names that could be in the frame...

Published: Monday, 20th January 2020 at 12:57 pm

Earlier today, news broke that Tony Hall, Lord Hall of Birkenhead CBE, would be standing down from the role of BBC Director-General in the summer.


The search will soon commence for someone to replace him, led by Chairman of the BBC Sir David Clementi and the BBC Board.

We've rounded up some leading industry figures who may be suitable for one of the biggest jobs in British television...

Fran Unsworth

Fran Unsworth has been serving as Director of News and Current Affairs at the BBC since January 2018, overseeing the division which produces output across the World Service Group.

Charlotte Moore

Charlotte Moore is another major player in the organisation, as both Director of Content since July 2016 and previously as Controller of BBC One, the Corporation's flagship channel. As well as having responsibility for the creative vision of a portfolio of channels, she also has oversight of BBC Sport.

Tim Davie CBE

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 18: Tim Davie CEO of BBC studios attends the annual CBI conference on November 18, 2019 in London, England. With 24 days to go until the general election, each of the leaders of the three main parties addressed the conference, in a bid to garner the support of the business sector. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Tim Davie is the CEO of BBC Studios and director, Global, and already has experience in the role of Director-General in an acting capacity. He took on the job between November 2012 and April 2013, in the interim between George Entwistle's resignation and the appointment of Lord Hall.

James Purnell

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11: James Purnell poses for pictures during the PUMA.Creative Impact Award at the Mandarin Oriental on October 11, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Puma)

James Purnell is Director of Radio & Education at the BBC and also leads the development of BBC Ideas, which produces thought-provoking short films. He previously served as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in Gordon Brown's government, while an MP for Stalybridge and Hyde.

Bob Shennan 

Since April 2019, Bob Shennan has served as BBC Group Managing Director, overseeing commercial rights and business affairs as well as developing the strategy for attracting on-air and on-screen talent.

Sharon White 

Sharon White could be a strong choice if the BBC were to look towards an external applicant for their new Director-General. The economist became the Chief Executive of media regulator Ofcom in March 2015, before leaving to become the chairman of John Lewis Partnership late last year.

Jay Hunt

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 05: Jay Hunt, the Chief Creative Officer of Channel 4, at the Globe Academy in Southwark on April 5, 2011 in London, England. Ms Hunt left her role as controller of BBC One to take over from Julian Bellamy as Chief Creative Officer at Channel 4 in January 2011. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Jay Hunt has an impressive CV that has seen her take on roles as Director of Programmes at Channel 5, BBC One Controller and Chief Creative Officer at Channel 4. Since 2017, she has been Chief Creative Officer of Apple Inc, overseeing a period which has seen them aggressively move into the television space with their own streaming service.


Alex Mahon

Alex Mahon has in the past been CEO of indie TV production company, Shine, as well as CEO of visual effects company Foundry. In 2017, she succeeded David Abraham at Channel 4 to be named the first female CEO of a major UK broadcaster. With public service broadcast experience, could she be in a good position to take on the unique challenges the BBC offers?


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