Creativity the key for BBC as new DG rings changes

Editor | 19-09-2012

In his first speech since taking over from Mark Thompson as Director-General, George Entwistle has promised to put “outstanding, world class creativity” at the heart of his BBC.
Yet as well as confirming that creativity standards would not be compromised, Entwistle cautioned that such moves could not be done “in isolation of the BBC’s financial challenges” and in what is certainly only the first of such moves, the new DG revealed that he was closing the post of Chief Operating Officer as part of the restructure of his senior team. The result is that current COO Caroline Thomson, a rival candidate to Entwistle for the top job, would be leaving the BBC at the end of September.

In his speech to all BBC employees, Entwistle asked everyone in the corporation to challenge themselves to deliver more creative and distinctive output for licence fee payers. Entwistle challenged his organisation to meet the audience’s ever-increasing expectations. “Though our best is often brilliant – in some of our output, we do settle for less than we should. So I believe we owe our audiences a determined effort to raise the creative quality of what we do.”
The new DG also explained that part of his mission would to be to make a series of management changes that would turn the BBC into “a more creative organisation, led and managed in a radically simplified way”.
With immediate effect, he was reorganising the BBC to reduce the management board from 25 to just 12, and the closure of the Operations Division with all operational and finance functions to be grouped in one business division under the chief financial officer. “I intend to change the way we’re led to put the emphasis where it belongs – on creative people doing creative things; on our audiences and the exceptional quality of work they deserve,” he told staff across the BBC.
Despite the focus on creativity, Entwistle warned that savings could not just be imposed from the centre. Instead, he said that front-line content makers also needed to be responsible for cost savings – incentivised by allowing them to reinvest some of the savings in better funded output.