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BBC hires Royal Opera House chief Tony Hall after scandal

Abusive BehaviorJimmy SavileBBC

Looking to put a child sex-abuse scandal behind it, the BBC has named a major figure from classical opera as its director general. Tony Hall has served as the chief executive of the Royal Opera House in London since 2001. His job at the BBC is expected to begin in March.

Hall's appointment may seem a bit arbitrary at first glance — the equivalent of making the Metropolitan Opera's Peter Gelb the head of CNN. But the hire isn't as random as it appears. Before the Royal Opera House, Hall worked at the BBC for close to 30 years, heading the BBC News for part of that.

Hall, 61, will replace George Entwistle, who recently resigned after less than two months on the job. The position is being filled temporarily by Tim Davie.

In the past few weeks, the BBC has been rocked by a controversy involving child sex abuse. The far-reaching scandal includes the BBC's alleged mishandling of the late TV host Jimmy Savile, who has been accused of molesting young children.

The network has also been accused of shoddy reporting regarding its program "Newsnight." One report falsely accused a Conservative Party official of child abuse.

The announcement of Hall's appointment to the BBC was made Thursday in London. Chris Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, told BBC staffers that Hall is "the right person to lead the BBC out of its current crisis and help rebuild public trust in the organization," according to a report in the Guardian.

Hall recently served as chairman of the Cultural Olympiad, the arts festival that ran in parallel with this year's summer Olympic Games in London.

The Royal Opera House released a statement Thursday confirming Hall's departure. The company said it "will turn immediately to finding a worthy successor." 

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