The head of the BBC’s programme-making division has joined the board of BBC Worldwide as a non-exec director, amid speculation over a planned shake-up at the UK pubcaster’s commercial arm.
George Entwistle, who became director of BBC Vision in May 2011, is the third non-exec director to be appointed to the BBCWW board from the non-commercial side of the business.
Outgoing BBC director general Mark Thompson took on added responsibility of BBCWW chairman in March. The role was incorporated into his job after former BBCWW chairman Robert Webb stepped down to become general counsel of car-maker Rolls Royce.
Meanwhile, the BBC’s chief financial officer, Zarin Patel, has been a non-exec director at BBCWW since January 2006.
A spokeswoman for BBCWW said Entwhiste’s appointment would have no bearing on the current BBC DG recruitment process. Thompson is due to step down after the Olympics this summer.
Entwistle has been tipped as one of the hopeful internal candidates for the job, along with the director of BBC news Helen Boaden and BBC chief operating officer Caroline Thompson. Ofcom CEO Ed Richards has already applied for the post.
“The investment from BBC Worldwide into the BBC’s TV programmes plays a vital role in funding the high quality and much-loved programmes that licence fee payers expect, so I’m pleased to be able to work with BBC Worldwide at a time when that contribution will become increasingly important,” said Entwistle today.
He will not be paid for his role on the board.
The appointment comes after The Guardian reported on Friday that BBCWW is planning to restructure its 13-person executive committee in a move likely to result in the departure of president of global networks and global iPlayer, Jana Bennett.
A BBCWW spokeswoman declined to comment on the report but said: “We’ve been looking at a number of options to increase our penetration of high growth markets around the world, and sustain our record of successful growth. This work remains underway and we are not going to comment on speculation about it.”