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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Mixed reaction to Grade's new job
Michael Grade
Grade is known for his charismatic personality
Michael Grade's appointment as new BBC chairman has been seen in some parts of the media as a maverick choice.

Matt Wells, The Guardian's media correspondent, said Mr Grade was joining the BBC at a difficult time - not just because of fallout from the Hutton Report.

He told the BBC News 24: "I think [Mr Grade] will be seen as a charismatic leader to lead the BBC out of what is perceived to be the post-Hutton crisis that it is in.

"His background is in programme-making but this is a strategic role and he has to lead the BBC strategically through the charter renewal process and the changes that will bring.

He brings a tremendous wealth of experience and talent, which will give the BBC a leader who can restore confidence and creativity at the BBC
Mark Wood
ITN
"He will preside over the fundamental changes in the way the BBC is regulated... and the BBC's response to those changes."

Former Channel 4 chief executive Sir Jeremy Isaacs said: "I think he has got huge challenges ahead.

"He's going to have to redefine the role of the governors and maybe the stance of the governors in relation to the whole corporation.

"He will need to be very, very careful. It won't be easy - it wouldn't be easy for anyone."

Mark Wood, chief executive of ITN welcomed the appointment.

He is colourful and occasionally controversial but the BBC will relish him
Julie Kirkbride
Shadow culture secretary

He said: "Grade's appointment is good news for the whole television industry.

"He brings a tremendous wealth of experience and talent, which will give the BBC a leader who can restore confidence and creativity at the BBC.

"We hope he will bring with him sensitivity about commercial issues from his long experience in the commercial sector to help steer through the challenging arguments about charter review."

Meanwhile, shadow culture secretary Julie Kirkbride said Grade's appointment would be "relished" by the BBC.

I think the only doubt which people will have is whether he wants to take the BBC upmarket or downmarket
Lord Tebbit
She said: "We're pleased to see that the government desisted from making a political appointee, which we believe would be wrong.

"We look forward to Michael Grade being a success as BBC chair, in what is a crucial time for the BBC with the discussions over the future of the charter.

"He is colourful and occasionally controversial but the BBC will relish him."

Sir Paul Fox, former managing director of BBC Television, said the appointment was "good for the BBC and good for the licence payer".

We think Grade's industry interests, such as in Camelot and Pinewood Studios, mean he is the wrong man for the job
Spokesman
Mediawatch UK

Former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the appointment was "promising".

"I think he is undoubtedly a good manager. I think the only doubt which people will have is whether he wants to take the BBC upmarket or downmarket," he said.

But television clean-up campaigners Mediawatch UK, said Grade's appointment "beggared belief".

A spokesman for the organisation said: "We think that the role of the BBC chairman is to represent the public's interests against those of the industry's interests.

"We think Grade's industry interests, such as in Camelot and Pinewood Studios, mean he is the wrong man for the job."


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