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29/01/2004

BBC Director-General Greg Dyke quits

The fallout from the Hutton Inquiry has continued today with the resignation of the BBC's director general Greg Dyke.
Mr Dyke told the waiting media scrum outside Broadcasting House this afternoon that he hoped his departure would draw a line under the affair.
Whilst the departure of Greg Dyke was met with astonishment in some quarters, his position incorporated the role of editor-in-chief of BBC news – making him technically responsible for the corporation's output.
Mark Byford, who was appointed Deputy Director-General in December 2003, has been named as Acting Director-General. It was also announced that current board member Lord Ryder will take over as the Acting Chairman following yesterday's departure of Gavyn Davies. However, the former Tory chief whip said that he would not be putting name forward for the full-time position.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell, has announced that the process for appointing a new Chairman will begin "shortly".
In a statement accepting Mr Dyke's resignation, the Board of Governors paid tribute to both Mr Davies and Mr Dyke as great public servants who had given "strong, dynamic leadership" to the BBC.
"Both will be greatly missed by the Board of Governors, the Executive Committee and the management and staff with whom they worked.
"The manner of their departures demonstrates the integrity of both men. The whole corporation owes them a debt of thanks and they deserve enormous credit for their dedication and contributions to the BBC over the last few years.
"Finally, on behalf of the Board, I want to express my thanks to the staff of the BBC for their continued commitment to the principles of public service broadcasting and especially to those with the vital task of reporting the Hutton Inquiry outcome accurately and impartially."
Mr Dyke was appointed Director General in 2000 and quickly demonstrated a radically different approach to management than his predecessor Lord Birt. His populist style breathed new life into the corporation's Byzantine management structure – a pledge to "cut the crap" and reconfigure the "hideously white" face of management at the broadcaster won him much praise, espcially with staff.
As the man responsible for bequeathing television Roland Rat, Greg Dyke was not in the mould of the archetypal Director General – prior to his appointment in 2000 he quipped that there was more chance of Saddam Hussein getting the top job than he did.
His appointment was not universely popular, and revelations of past donations to the Labour Party fuelled accusations that he was one of Tony's Cronies. But the BBC under Greg Dyke maintained its impartiality and distance from Downing Street, and Conservative Central Office.
His tenure witnessed the expansion of the BBC into digital and internet technology, an increased capture of UK viewer ratings and a greater awareness of of the Beeb's commercial potential.
(GMCG)
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