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Grade gets top job

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2004-04-02

Michael Grade

Michael Grade

Former Channel 4 boss Michael Grade has become the new chairman of the BBC.

Grade, 61, is a former senior executive at the BBC who was chosen from a shortlist of people to replace Gavyn Davies, who along with BBC director general Greg Dyke, resigned in the wake of the Hutton Report.
Among those who Grade beat to the post were David Dimbleby and former Panorama presenter Lord Watson. One of his first tasks will be to appoint a new director general.
"This is quite a day for me. Apart from my obvious pride and delight, I also feel my experience has prepared me to step into the role at a difficult moment in the Corporation's history," Grade said.
Grade, is a keen supporter of Yiddish culture and acts as vice president of the JMI International Forum for Yiddish Culture.
He started his working life as a journalist with the Mirror newspaper in the early 1960s.  He became a theatrical agent in the mid 1960s for his family firm Grade organisation run by uncles Lew Grade and Bernard Delfont and then made the leap into television in the 1970s where he rapidly rose to top positions.
He was deputy controller of entertainment programmes at LWT and then joined the BBC in mid 80s where he become controller of BBC1.
In 1988, he became chief executive of Channel 4 where he stayed until 1997 before becoming a director of numerous businesses and projects including Pinewood and Shepperton film studios and Camelot.