Davie, who will take over the top job in September, joined the BBC in 2005 after senior marketing positions at Pepsi (PEP) and Procter & Gamble (PG). After stints in the BBC's marketing division, he ran the network's radio stations and most recently was head of BBC Studios, a production and distribution company which makes about £200 million ($253 million) a year for the network.
Most previous director generals in the BBC's 99-year history have been journalists. But the venerable British institution is now facing serious headwinds on many fronts.
As companies including Netflix (NFLX), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and CNN parent AT&T (T) engage in an intense battle for streaming viewers, the British government is considering scrapping the BBC's main funding source, the TV license fee all television viewers in the country must pay.
The government may choose to decriminalize not paying the license fee as soon as 2022. It could then choose to scrap the fee entirely in 2027 when the Royal Charter — the contract with the government that determines how the BBC is funded and run — is up for renewal.
The broadcaster is under pressure internally, too. It has faced scandals over its gender pay gap, and recently announced plans to cut 450 jobs to save money, though those cuts were paused because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Davie, who once briefly served as interim director general, replaces Tony Hall who has been in the job since 2013.