Frederick Ogilvie was director-general of the BBC from 1 October 1938 until January 1942.
He was educated at Clifton and Balliol College, Oxford, and served in the 4th Bedfordshire Regiment from 1914 to 1919. From 1920 to 1926 he was a Fellow and Lecturer of Trinity College, Oxford. Between 1926 and 1934, while professor of political economy at Edinburgh University, his other activities included membership of trades boards, the National Advisory Council for Juvenile Employment (Scotland) and the Food Council (Great Britain) and Consumers' Committee for Scotland (Agricultural Marketing Acts). He was also Director of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Joint Advisory Committee on Adult Education for South-East Scotland. In 1934 he became President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast, where he remained until 1938, combining this work with the Chairmanship of the Ministry of Labour (Northern Ireland) Committee for Instruction of Unemployed Juveniles and other interests in economics, art and agriculture.
He was 46 years of age when he joined the BBC on 1 October 1938.
Ogilvie resigned as director-general in January 1942, and Sir Cecil Graves and and R. W. Foot were appointed as joint directors-general.