Entwistle, currently director of BBC Vision, will replace Mark Thompson.
The 49-year-old was once deputy editor of science show Tomorrow’s World and launched the Culture Show for BBC2. He also formerly directed Newsnight.
It is expected that Entwistle will take over the post in the autumn, with a salary of £450,000.
However, Entwistle could prove a controversial choice in light of the fact that he played a part in organising the BBC’s widely derided Diamond Jubilee coverage.
One Twitter user posted: “So congratulations to new BBC DG, George Entwistle. His spectacular success in masterminding the Pageant coverage clearly earned him this.”
Good luck, Entwistle!