Hall is chief exec of London’s Royal Opera House and deputy chairman of U.K. pubcaster Channel 4. He was head of BBC news and current affairs from 1996 to 2001.
The BBC did not approach any other candidates, it said.
Hall, who will have a salary of £450,000 ($718,000) a year, is expected to start in early March. Tim Davie will remain as acting director general until then.
Entwistle left in the wake of a controversy surrounding the BBC’s handling of two separate child abuse scandals, both centering on flagship public affairs show “Newsnight.”
Chris Patten, chairman of the pubcaster’s governing body the BBC Trust, said: “While there are still very serious questions to be answered by the on-going inquiries, it is in the interests of license fee payers that the BBC now starts to refocus on its main purpose — making great programs that audiences love and trust.
“In doing this it will need to take a long, hard look at the way it operates and put in place the changes required to ensure it lives up to the standards that the public expects. Tony Hall is the right person to lead this.”
Hall said: “It’s been a difficult few weeks — but together we’ll get through it.
“I’m committed to ensuring our news services are the best in the world.
“I’m committed to making this a place where creative people, the best and the brightest, want to work.”