A BBC one – this time about Tim Davie, the replacement for Lord Tony Hall as the corporation’s director-general.

Davie, who is currently chief executive of BBC Studios, the broadcaster’s commercial production and distribution arm, has been here before when he was acting DG for four months during the Jimmy Savile crisis in 2012, after George Entwistle resigned and before Hall’s appointment. He also previously served as the BBC’s head of audio.

Davie, 53, had a spell as deputy chair of the Tory Party in Hammersmith and Fulham, and last year turned down an offer to run England’s Premier League.

A 15-year BBC veteran, Davie has considerable commercial experience outside its hallowed halls, including with PepsiCo Europe and Procter and Gamble.

He will take a pay cut when he assumes the new role on September 1, from £600,000 to £525,000 a year, which still reads like a lottery win.

However, he has agreed to be paid the same as Hall – £450,000 – until August next year as all BBC bosses are currently on a salary freeze.


QUITE – but Davie takes over in the midst of the BBC’s latest crisis, with threats to its licence fee funding model as Auntie bids to retain some relevance to younger audiences in the age of Netflix.

The BBC is facing a mid-term review of its royal charter in 2022, which is expected to focus on the cost and long-term future of the £154.50 yearly licence fee.

Boris Johnson has spoken about decriminalising non-payment, which the BBC has said would cost millions of pounds as more people would choose simply not to pay, including those who see much of its news and current affairs offering as irrelevant.

As part of a deal under Hall in 2015, the BBC agreed with David Cameron’s government that it would take on the £745m annual cost of providing free licences for people over the age of 75.

Davie will be responsible for implementing the hugely unpopular policy of making more than three million over-75s start paying it, after it was pushed back to August 1 from earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He will also have to grapple with gripes over equal pay, diversity and probably much more.


IT was a strong field. The shortlist included the BBC’s content director Charlotte Moore, Will Lewis, former chief executive of the Wall Street Journal’s publisher Dow Jones, and Doug Gurr, who heads Amazon’s UK and Ireland operations.

With ITV and Channel 4 having their first female chief executives in Carolyn McCall and Alex Mahon, there had been calls for the BBC to appoint its first female director-general – Davie is the 17th male in a row to occupy the post since the BBC was founded in 1927.

The BBC’s former China editor, Carrie Grace, said: “It would have been right to have a woman now. It is disappointing.

“I do feel Tim understands the challenges of the BBC. He’s thought hard about them.

“I think he is a man with a plan. But obviously he is white, male and Oxbridge. He’s not diverse.”

Davie said he was honoured, and added: “I have a deep commitment to content of the highest quality and impartiality.

“Looking forward, we will need to accelerate change so that we serve all our audiences in this fast-moving world.

“Much great work has been done, but we will continue to reform, make clear choices and stay relevant.”