BBC Names George Entwistle New Top Executive

Head of BBC Flagship News Show Steps Aside Amid Probe Into Dropped Report on Abuse Scandal

LONDON - George Entwistle is the new director general of the BBC.

The U.K. public broadcaster announced the appointment of its new top executive Wednesday after second- round interviews with a short list of candidates on Tuesday.

Current BBC director general Mark Thompson had earlier this year announced his plan to step down after the London Olympics. The broadcaster targeted to appoint a new leader, who will have to tackle the company's digital future and international growth opportunities, among other things, before the end of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

The cother andidates that had made it to the final round were believed to be BBC COO Caroline Thomson, and Ed Richards, the CEO of U.K. media regulator Ofcom.

The Guardian had reported that there was speculation about a fourth candidate, possibly from outside the media industry, but no names or details became known.

"George Entwistle, who is currently director of BBC Vision, will take over from current director general Mark Thompson on a salary of £450,000 per year," the BBC Trust said.

The second round of interviews were led by BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten and his deputy Diane Coyle along with the heads of trust committees. The BBC Trust is the company's governance board. Beyond their own experience, the interviews were believed to have focused on candidates' vision for future of the BBC and how to tackle the challenges faced by public broadcasters.

“George is a creative leader for a creative organization," Lord Patten said. “His experience of making and delivering great programs 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."

He added: “Above all George is passionate about the BBC, is committed to its public service ethos and has a clear vision for how it can harness the creativity and commitment of its staff to continue to serve audiences in ever more innovative ways.”

Entwistle himself said: “I’m delighted that the chairman and trustees have decided I’m the right person for the job. And I’m very excited about all that lies ahead. I love the BBC and it’s a privilege to be asked to lead it into the next stage of its creative life.”

The Guardian said that this marked the first time in recent BBC history that candidates weren't grilled by the entire BBC Trust.