BBC director-general Tony Hall will step down from running the U.K. public broadcaster this summer after seven years in the role.
The news was unveiled Monday morning in London.
"Tony Hall is an inspirational creative leader, within the U.K. and around the globe, and the BBC has been lucky to have him as our director-general for the last seven years," said BBC chairman Sir David Clementi. "Tony has led the BBC with integrity and a passion for our values that is obvious to everyone who meets him. His reforms have shaped the BBC for the future and he will leave the BBC in the summer with our gratitude and our very best wishes."
He added that within the next few weeks the broadcaster would publish a job description and advertise the job, "seeking candidates within the Corporation and externally.”
Early in his tenure, Hall had to deal with sexual harassment and assault allegations against late former BBC host Jimmy Savile before focusing on positioning the public broadcaster better for the digital age. Among the moves made during his tenure are the decision to make BBC Three an online-only channel, separate the broadcaster's production arm by forming what is now BBC Studios and build out streaming platform BBC iPlayer.
"If I followed my heart I would genuinely never want to leave," Hall said in a statement. "However, I believe that an important part of leadership is putting the interests of the organization first. The BBC has an eleven-year charter — our mission is secure until 2027. But we also have a mid-term review process for the spring of 2022. ... We have to develop our ideas for both. And it must be right that the BBC has one person to lead it through both stages."
He added: "As our country enters its next chapter it needs a strong BBC, a BBC that can champion the nation's creativity at home and abroad, and help play its part in bringing the U.K. together. In an era of fake news, we remain the gold standard of impartiality and truth. What the BBC is, and what it stands for, is precious for this country. We ignore that at our peril."
Later in the day, London's National Gallery said that Hall, who previously led the Royal Opera House, would become its chairman.
Among the possible candidates to succeed Hall at the BBC that observers immediately mentioned Monday are BBC director of content Charlotte Moore and BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie.