Tony Hall will take over the role in March (BBC)
Tony Hall will take over the role in March (BBC)

The BBC has confirmed that Tony Hall, the former director of BBC News and now chief executive of the Royal Opera House, will be appointed as the broadcaster's director-general.

Lord Hall of Birkenhead will be appointed in March following the resignation of George Entwistle on 10 November after a Newsnight wrongly linked Lord McApline to child abuse.

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said Hall was "the right person to lead the BBC out of its crisis". His appointment had been unanimously agreed by the trustees.

Acting director-general Tim Davie will continue in his role until the transition.

Patten said: "While there are still very serious questions to be answered by the ongoing inquiries, it is in the interests of licence fee payers that the BBC starts to refocus on its main purpose - making great programmes that audiences love and trust.

"In doing this it will need to take a long, hard look at the way it operates and put in place the changes required to ensure it lives up to the standards that the public expects. Tony Hall is the right person to lead this and I am delighted that he is taking on this role.

"Perhaps most importantly, given where we now find ourselves, his background in news will prove invaluable as the BBC looks to rebuild both its reputation in this area and the trust of audiences."

A difficult few weeks

Hall said: "This organisation is an incredibly important part of what makes the United Kingdom what it is. And of course it matters not just to people in this country - but to tens of millions around the world too.

"It's been a difficult few weeks - but together we'll get through."

The BBC has been the subject of scorn for months, starting with revelations that current affairs flagship Newsnight shelved an investigation into claims that Jimmy Savile sexually abused children for years .

That crisis led to the resignation of Entwistle after just 54 days after another Newsnight investigation falsely accused Lord McAlpine of abusing children at the Bryn Estyn care home in North Wales.

A BBC report into the programme, conducted by the broadcaster's Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie, concluded that "some of the basic journalistic checks were not completed" before the investigation was broadcast.

Hall was chairman of the Cultural Olympiad and was head of BBC News and Current Affairs from 1996-2001. He was a candidate for the role of director-general in 1999.