RTÉ has confirmed that Kevin Bakhurst has officially been appointed as director general of the organisation.
Bakhurst will replace outgoing director general Dee Forbes who will steps down from the job in July. His appointment was signed off by Catherine Martin, the Arts and Media Minister this morning.
“RTÉ plays a central role in Irish life and has brilliant people dedicated to delivering great and trusted content for audiences. RTÉ faces huge challenges and global competition, and I am confident we can deliver the ambitious change needed to remain valued and relevant to our audiences. I’m looking forward to getting started,” says Bakhurst.
Bakhurst joins RTÉ from Ofcom in the UK where he was group director for broadcasting and media, overseeing broadcast and media regulation and policy in the UK.
Prior to joining Ofcom in 2016, he managing director, news and current affairs and deputy director general of RTÉ. He also stood in as acting director general for a short period of time and was widely tipped to take the job back in 2016 before it was offered to Dee Forbes.
After graduating from Cambridge University, Bakhurst worked at Price Waterhouse before joining the BBC as a researcher in 1989. He went on to edit the Ten O’Clock News, becoming deputy head of the BBC Newsroom and Controller of the BBC News channel and BBC News at One.
His appointment ends a controversial two week period during which An Post’s chief executive David McRedmond was mentioned as a possible successor for Forbes. While McRedmond was interviewed in the first round, he did not progress to the shortlist.
Bakhurst joins RTÉ at a critical time for the public service broadcaster. Having racked up considerable losses over the last 10 years, RTÉ is still waiting to hear back from the Government about the future of the TV license and, in particular, how it is collected. Income derived from the TV license forms a critical part of the broadcaster’s dual-funded model.