Entertainment

Lord Tony Hall gets National Gallery job as he quits as BBC Director-General

His departure from the BBC comes at a turbulent time for the broadcaster.

Outgoing BBC Director-General Lord Tony Hall will move into a top role at the National Gallery after leaving the broadcaster.

Lord Hall, who on Monday announced he is stepping down as BBC boss after seven years, has been appointed by the National Gallery as its chairman of the board of trustees.

He will take over the role from Sir John Kingman, who has been interim chairman since Hannah Rothschild stood down from the role in September.

Lord Hall, who has served on the gallery’s board since November, said: “The National Gallery houses the greatest collection of paintings – not just in the UK – but the world. It is a hugely important cultural asset for the country and for the many people who visit from across the globe.

“I am proud to take on the role of its chair. The National Gallery isn’t just about serving those who already love art, but reaching a wider audience and future generations.”

He praised it as “one of our finest institutions” adding: “I look forward to working with (National Gallery director) Gabriele Finaldi, the trustees, and the wider team, to ensure its continued success.”

Lord Hall’s first term as chairman will run until 2024 when he will be eligible to serve a further term, depending on the Prime Minister’s consideration at the appropriate time of any reappointment as a trustee.

Lord Hall will continue as BBC Director-General for six months before departing in the summer.

Having taken up the post in 2013, he said it was a “hard decision” to make, but that he wanted to put “the interests of the organisation first”.

In a message to BBC staff he said he feels he is “leaving the BBC in a much stronger place than when I joined”, adding: “It feels a very different organisation – more innovative; more open; more inclusive; more efficient; more commercially aware.

“And a BBC that’s on cracking creative form. You all have my thanks and admiration for the part you’ve played in that success.”

His departure from the role comes amid a turbulent time for the broadcaster, with issues around equal pay disputes, political bias, diversity and TV licences at the top of its agenda.

Samira Ahmed and Sarah Montague are among the high-profile BBC talent who have received recent payouts over equal pay disputes.

Ms Ahmed won an employment tribunal she brought against the broadcaster when she claimed she was underpaid by a reported £700,000 for hosting audience feedback show Newswatch compared with Jeremy Vine’s salary for TV show Points of View.

Radio presenter Ms Montague won a £400,000 settlement and an apology from the BBC after being treated “unequally” by them for many years.

BBC chairman Sir David Clementi said that Lord Hall “is an inspirational creative leader, within the UK and around the globe, and the BBC has been lucky to have him as our Director-General for the last seven years”.

The BBC Board will soon start advertising for Lord Hall’s replacement, and Sir David said they are “committed to selecting the best qualified person for the job”.

Responding to Lord Hall’s new role at the National Gallery, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan: “Tony Hall brings with him a wealth of experience and, together with Gabriele Finaldi, he will help ensure the National Gallery continues to go from strength to strength.

“Attracting new audiences must be a priority for all of our cultural institutions and Tony’s impressive and respected background in the arts and cultural sectors makes him well placed to achieve this.

“I’m pleased that the National Gallery’s Board has chosen to elect him as chair.”

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