BBC Boss Mark Thompson To Step Down Next Autumn

BBC ya later

BBC big dog Mark Thompson has told staff that he will step down next autumn, after the “amazing summer of 2012â€?.

After almost eight years in the job, he has become the corporation’s longest serving director general since the 1970s.

In a message circulated to BBC staff yesterday, he said: “We’ve weathered a series of lively storms and been through some trying as well as some very successful times together.

“What has made my job not just bearable, but immensely enjoyable and rewarding, is all of you: your talent and energy, your unshakeable belief in the BBC and everything it stands for.â€?

Thompson has been at the helm of the BBC throughout Radio 2’s Sachsgate scandal and a brutal round of budget cuts and redundancies.

He has also enjoyed great success with the likes of the Frozen Planet series, Strictly Come Dancing and has helped to secure the beeb’s latest bid for talent show success, The Voice UK.

No specific date has been set for Thompson’s departure but he advised BBC Chairman, Lord Chris Patten to “begin the public process of finding the next DG as soon as they see fitâ€?.

Thus ensues weeks of media speculation as to who will fill Thompson’s shoes as the next director general.

The Telegraph has already published the opinions of former chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, who believes the BBC needs a female boss.

He said: “It is important to have a DG who shows some proper empathy with members of the female audience. That’s something we could do with strengthening.

“It would be great if the best candidate is a woman. I wouldn’t want to compromise on the criteria [just to have a woman].â€?

Helen Boaden, director of BBC News Group, has already emerged as a front runner for the role. One insider said: “People like her because she speaks her mind. She’s tough in areas like cost-cutting, but she also trusts her lieutenants and she has strong editorial judgment. She’s good at spotting and pre-empting problems.â€?