The boss of the world’s biggest public service broadcaster the British Broadcasting Corporation has been forced to resign after just eight weeks in the job.
George Entwistle announced his resignation over the weekend after one of the BBC’s flagship news programmes wrongly linked a senior politican to child abuse.
The blunder came weeks after the same TV show, Newsnight, was accused of blundering by dropping an investigation into abuse by BBC personality Jimmy Savile.
Entwistle’s departure will trigger an unexpected search for a successor as the BBC’s director general. When the role came up previously, ABC boss Mark Scott was named as one of the potential candidates before ruling himself out.
A statement from Enwistle issued by the BBC said:
“In the light of the fact that the Director-General is also the Editor-in-Chief and ultimately responsible for all content; and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2nd November; I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of Director-General.
“When appointed to the role, with 23 years’ experience as a producer and leader at the BBC, I was confident the Trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead. However, the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader.
“To have been the Director-General of the BBC even for a short period, and in the most challenging of circumstances, has been a great honour.
“While there is understandable public concern over a number of issues well covered in the media – which I’m confident will be addressed by the Review process – we must not lose sight of the fact that the BBC is full of people of the greatest talent and the highest integrity. That’s what will continue to make it the finest broadcaster in the world.”