LORD Tony Hall will step down as director-general of the BBC this summer amid a turbulent time for the broadcaster, it has been announced.

Lord Hall, who took up the post in April 2013, revealed his decision in a message to BBC staff, saying he will remain in the role for the next six months before leaving in the summer.

He said it was a “hard decision” but that he wanted to put “the interests of the organisation first”.

Hall said: “The BBC has an 11-year Charter – our mission is secure until 2027. But we also have a mid-term review process for the spring of 2022.”

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Referring to his speech at the BBC’s Cardiff headquarters last week, he said: “As I said last week, we have to develop our ideas for both. And it must be right that the BBC has one person to lead it through both stages.

“Over the next six months my priority, as always, will be to champion this great organisation and continue to direct our reinvention.

“There’s so much we can do to transform the creative industries around the UK still further and to project this country’s talent and ideas to the world.”

Lord Hall will move to the National Gallery as its chairman of the board of trustees.

He will take over the role from Sir John Kingman, who has been interim chairman since Hannah Rothschild stood down from the role in September. Lord Hall, who has served on the gallery’s board since November, said: “The National Gallery houses the greatest collection of paintings – not just in the UK – but the world. It is a hugely important cultural asset for the country and for the many people who visit from across the globe.”

The National: The BBC logo on a building

Lord Hall’s first term as chairman will run until 2024 when he will be eligible to serve a further term, depending on the Prime Minister’s consideration at the appropriate time of any reappointment as a trustee.

Lord Hall’s exit comes amid a turbulent time for the BBC, with the spotlight in Scotland on issues around independence including the broadcaster’s refusal to put news about an independence poll on its website, not showing rally crowds at The National’s indyref2020 event and editing out Question Time audience laughter at a Tory claiming Boris Johnson cares about Scotland.

In the rest of the UK the broadcaster has faced issues around equal pay, diversity and free TV licences.

Hall said he feels he is “leaving the BBC in a much stronger place than when I joined”, adding: “It feels a very different organisation – more innovative; more open; more inclusive; more efficient; more commercially aware.”

The outgoing BBC boss said that “it must be right” that the organisation has one person in charge to lead through the process of the 11-year royal charter until 2027, and its mid-term review in 2022.

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi described Hall’s former role as “a demanding job”.

“Being the BBC’s director-general is a demanding job, combining the role of chief executive and editor-in-chief,” he wrote in an email to staff.

“Under Tony’s leadership we have achieved a great deal. We also know that the BBC continues to face challenges. The Board is fully committed to finding the best qualified person to lead us through this next period.”