BBC’s Mark Thompson to leave after the Olympics

Kasmira Jefford
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THE BBC has stepped up its search to find the next director general after Mark Thompson confirmed yesterday he will leave the corporation in the autumn after the Olympics.

Thompson, who has been in the job since 2004, told BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten of his departure in a meeting yesterday and said that the public broadcaster should begin the process of a replacement “as soon as they see fit”.

His departure could see the first female director general, with Caroline Thomson, the BBC chief operating officer and Helen Boaden, head of news, both tipped as potential internal candidates as well as head of BBC Vision George Entwistle.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom and David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4, have also been linked as likely candidates for the job.

Thompson has spent most of his professional career at the BBC, joining in 1979 as a production trainee on a fast-track programme after graduating from Oxford University.

He spent two years as chief executive of Channel 4 before rejoining the BBC in 2004 in the wake of the Hutton report, which led to his predecessor Greg Dyke’s resignation.