Tony Hall is stepping down as the director general of the BBC, it has been announced.
Lord Hall's departure from the BBC comes amid another turbulent time for the broadcaster, with issues that include equal pay disputes, political bias, diversity and TV licences.
Announcing his move in a message to BBC staff, he said it was a "hard decision" to step down. He added that he is passionate about the BBC's values and the role the public service broadcaster has in the country and globally too.
Lord Hall, who has led the corporation for seven years, will leave in the summer. He said he hoped the next director general would be in place before the mid-term review of the BBC’s charter in 2022, stating that he wants one person to take it through that, as well as its renewal in 2027.
“It’s been such a hard decision for me,” he wrote. “I love the BBC… If I followed my heart I would genuinely never want to leave.”
Hall said he would continue to work flat out “to demonstrate why public service broadcasting – with the BBC at its heart – is an eternal idea.”
Who is Lord Hall - a career spanning half a century
Lord Hall joined the BBC as a trainee in the Belfast newsroom in 1973.
He became editor of the Nine O'Clock News at the age of 34 and was appointed chief executive of BBC News in 1996.
He launched BBC Radio 5 Live, the news channel, the BBC News website and the parliament channel.
Lord Hall left in 2001 to become the chief executive of the the Royal Opera House until 2013, and was also deputy chairman of Channel 4. Lord Hall, whose official title is The Lord Hall of Birkenhead, was made a cross-bench peer in 2010.
He was on the board of the London organising committee for the Olympic Games before returning to the BBC as director general.
BBC under the spotlight
Earlier this month presenter Samira Ahmed won an employment tribunal in a dispute over equal pay, while radio presenter Sarah Montague has confirmed she won a settlement and an apology from the BBC after being treated "unequally".
The BBC also faced criticism over its reporting on the recent general election.
The corporation was warned on Monday that it is facing a “dangerous moment” as Conservative MPs seized on the departure of Lord Hall to call for an overhaul of its funding model and an end to the licence fee.
John Whittingdale, the former culture secretary, led calls for a debate on the BBC’s funding model to start as soon as its mid-term review in 2022. He said that Hall’s replacement would have to consider how the broadcaster can compete in the Netflix era.
Who could succeed him?
Potential internal candidates include the BBC’s director of content, Charlotte Moore; its director of radio and education, James Purnell; and the director of news and current affairs, Fran Unsworth.
The BBC board, rather than the government, will pick Lord Hall’s successor but several senior Labour figures warned that the BBC in its current form was looking vulnerable.