29th May 2012

Top job at the BBC up for grabs..

Mark Thompson has been Director General of the BBC since 2004, and he recently announced that this autumn he will leave. Having headed the corporation for nearly eight years, he has seen the BBC through embarrassing scandals (think Jonathon Ross/Russell Brand) and awesome triumphs (think Frozen Planet). As Director General Thompson is responsible for the BBC’s services across television, radio and online. This includes a global workforce of 20,000, and over 400,000 hours of content per year.

In a message to the BBC Thompson said he has “always been on the side of change” even though that brings “disruption and uncertainty in its wake”. During his tenure he is credited with steering the BBC into the digital age by presiding over the launch of the domestic and global BBC iPlayer. And in 2010 he negotiated a frozen licence fee which will deliver stable funding until 2016/17.

At the moment, corporate insiders are suggesting that the skill-set necessary to undertake the position is such that only a BBC veteran could take over.

And so far, a definite possibility is Caroline Thomson, who is currently the BBC’s Chief Operating Officer. She has been in broadcasting for 30 years, and has spent the last 20 years at policy at the BBC. If selected, Thompson would be the first female Director General of the BBC.

As yet, the date of Thompson’s departure remains unconfirmed. He will see the BBC through the Jubilee and the Olympics, and will leave once his successor has been found.

The hunt is on, and it may not be easy. The BBC will need to find someone with strong leadership effectiveness. Simply put, they will be looking for a Director General who can:

1. Set a clear direction

2. Bring people with him/her

3. Deliver results

These are the foundations of great leadership, and that is exactly what the BBC will want in the top job.

Hilda Goold



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