Director-General of the BBC

Last updated

Director-General of the BBC
Tim Davie

since 1 September 2020
Member of BBC Board
Executive Committee
Reports to BBC Board
Chairman of the BBC
Appointer BBC Board
First holder Sir John Reith

The Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation is chief executive and (from 1994) editor-in-chief of the BBC.


The position was formerly appointed by the Board of Governors of the BBC (for the period of 1927 to 2007) and then the BBC Trust (from 2007 to 2017). Since 2017 the Director-General has been appointed by the BBC Board.

To date, nineteen individuals have been appointed Director-General, plus an additional two[ dubious ] who were appointed in an acting capacity only. The current Director-General is Tim Davie, who succeeded Tony Hall on 1 September 2020. [1]

List of incumbents

Director-GeneralTerm of officeLength of termHonour(s)
Sir John Reith 1 January 192730 June 193811 yearsKnighted 1 January 1927, at the start of his term as DG. [2] Peerage 21 October 1940, after stepping down as DG. [3] Appointed to the Order of the Thistle 18 February 1969. [4]
Sir Frederick Ogilvie 19 July 193826 January 19423½ yearsKnighted 10 June 1942, after stepping down as DG
Sir Cecil Graves and Robert Foot 26 January 19426 September 194319 monthsKnighted 1939, before becoming DG
Robert Foot 6 September 194331 March 19447 months
Sir William Haley 194419528 yearsKnighted 1946, during his term as DG
Sir Ian Jacob 195219597 yearsKnighted 1 January 1960, after stepping down as DG
Sir Hugh Greene 196019699 yearsKnighted 1964, during his term as DG
Sir Charles Curran 196919778 yearsKnighted 1 January 1974, during his term as DG
Sir Ian Trethowan 197719825 yearsKnighted 1980, during his term as DG
Alasdair Milne 1982January 1987 [lower-alpha 1] 5 years
Sir Michael Checkland 198719925 years
Sir John Birt 199220008 yearsKnighted 27 October 1998 [6] during his term as DG.
Greg Dyke 200029 January 20044 years
Mark Byford [lower-alpha 2] January 2004June 20045 months
Mark Thompson 22 June 200417 September 20128 years
George Entwistle 17 September 201210 November 201254 days
Tim Davie [lower-alpha 2] 11 November 20121 April 2013141 days
Tony Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead 2 April 201331 August 2020 [7] [8] 7 yearsLife peerage 19 March 2010, before appointment as DG.
Tim Davie 1 September 2020 [1] incumbent

Italics indicate that the individual was temporarily appointed as acting director-general. [9]

  1. Ordered to resign by BBC Governors. [5]
  2. 1 2 Temporarily appointed as acting director-general

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  1. 1 2 "Tim Davie: BBC executive named director general". 5 June 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  2. "London Gazette, 1 January 1927".
  3. "London Gazette, 29 October 1940".
  4. "No. 44794". The London Gazette . 21 February 1969. p. 1995.
  5. "Head of BBC Quits, Ending Stormy Tenure". The New York Times. AP. 30 January 1987. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  6. "Honours and Awards". London Gazette. 14 September 1999.
  7. Plunkett, John (25 January 2013). "BBC director general Lord Hall to take charge on 2 April". The Guardian . Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  8. "Lord Hall to step down as BBC's director general". BBC News . 21 January 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  9. "Directors-General". Retrieved 15 June 2021.