Greg Dyke, the former Director General of the BBC, is to replace filmmaker Mike Leigh as Chairman of the London Film School. Mr. Turner director Leigh stepped down this week after 18 years in the role.

Dyke, who will assume the role of Chair next month, takes over at a time of flux at the prestigious venue, whose alumni include Ridley Scott, Michael Mann, Duncan Jones, Tak Fujimoto and Leigh himself. The LFS has been trying to relocate from its Covent Garden home for some time a it is hoped a move to a cultural hub in London City Island in the East of the capital will take place later this year. Once there, the school hopes to grow its intake and open state of the art facilities. Former school director Jane Roscoe left the institution last summer after a turbulent three year stint which included curriculum modernisation but also pockets of agitation among students frustrated by a high turnover of staff. Last year saw the publication of multiple online petitions from disgruntled alumni over conditions at the school.

Filmmaker and teacher Gisli Snaer is currently serving as Acting Director at the institution with Dan Lawson as Acting COO. We understand that these two positions will be filled soon after Dyke has got his feet under the table.

Dyke’s last major public role was as Chairman of the UK Football Association, a role he held for three years, leaving in 2016. The executive, known for his maverick style and modernising zeal, was previously CEO of London Weekend Television, Director General of the BBC and Chairman of the British Film Institute.

Commenting on his new gig, Dyke said, “This is a very interesting time to join London Film School with the changes going on in Higher Education, the plans to move the School to a new location and the current success of the British film industry. A recent BFI report demonstrated that there is a clear skills shortage in the film industry in Britain, a shortage which, amongst the many other things it does, the London Film School can help to fill in the years ahead…. I like being involved with organisations at times of change… It will be an exciting time.”

Retiring Chairman Leigh, one of the School’s biggest cheerleaders over many years, said, “What a long way we’ve come since I became LFS Chairman back in 2000, and how exciting and exhilarating it is for me, as I move on, to know that I have the most perfect successor imaginable! Dyke’s unique and formidable skills are exactly what we need. He takes over at a key moment in the school’s history. We’re lucky to have him, and I wish him and everybody all success and much love. I’ve been part of the LFS family for 54 years; count on me to continue to be supportive, however and for as long as I can.”

Leigh’s period drama Peterloo has been widely tipped to feature at Cannes this year.