BBC names new director-general

By the Associated Press | July 4, 2012 | 2:38 PM EDT

LONDON (AP) — The British Broadcasting Corp. named executive George Entwistle its new chief on Tuesday, giving him one of the country's top media jobs.

Entwistle, 49, will replace current director-general Mark Thompson, who announced he would step down following London's 2012 Olympics after an eight year tenure that has seen him handle sweeping cuts to staff and services.

"I love the BBC and it's a privilege to be asked to lead it into the next stage of its creative life," said Entwistle, who joined the BBC as a trainee in 1989 and most recently worked as head of the organization's television services.

The 450,000-pound-salary ($702,000) post will come with a raft of challenges — not least the task of delivering the BBC's mix of entertainment and journalism amid a decline in funding.

Each British household with access to television and radio services pays a compulsory 145.50 pounds ($227) fee each year, but any rises in the levy have been frozen until 2016.

Already, Entwistle — who takes up his role on Sept. 17. — has agreed to take a smaller salary than his predecessor.

Media watchers in Britain had tipped the BBC's chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson, to become the 90-year-old broadcasting organization's first ever female chief.