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From trainee to top job at the BBC

A man who started at the BBC as a journalism trainee has been appointed to the British broadcaster’s top job.

George Entwistle will take over as Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation from Mark Thompson, who has held the post for eight years.

Trust Chairman Lord Patten described Mr Entwistle as “a creative leader for a creative organisation”.

“His experience of making and delivering great programmes that audiences love – built up through many years of working for the Corporation – will prove invaluable as he and his team work to ensure the BBC remains the greatest broadcaster in the world.”

Mr Entwistle, who started with the BBC in 1989 as a broadcast journalism trainee and is currently Director of BBC Vision overseeing all of the corporation’s TV channels and programme-making departments, said he was delighted the Chairman and Trustees had decided he was the right person for the job.

“I’m very excited about all that lies ahead,” he said. “I love the BBC and it’s a privilege to be asked to lead it into the next stage of its creative life.”

Lord Patten said that Mr Thompson, who was appointed to the role of Director-General in May 2004 “will be sorely missed”.

The British newspaper The Guardian reports that Mr Entwistle was chosen ahead of his colleague, BBC chief operating officer Caroline Thomson to oversee the organisation with more than 22,000 employees and total revenues of nearly £5bn (US$7.7 billion).

Ms Thomson, who would have been the first female director general in the BBC’s 90-year history, issued a statement saying: “Of course I am very disappointed. It would have been a wonderful honour to lead such a brilliant organisation. But if it couldn’t have been me then George is absolutely the right choice.”