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BBC boss Mark Thompson sets quit date

Not going anywhere until after the Olympics

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BBC director-general Mark Thompson has handed in his resignation and will serve out his notice at the public service broadcaster until autumn this year.

He told staff this morning that he had quit the top job after eight years of running the Beeb. Thompson said:

This morning I told Lord Patten that I believe that an appropriate time for me to hand over to a successor and to step down as director-general of the BBC would be the autumn of this year, once the Olympics and the rest of the amazing summer of 2012 are over.

When Chris Patten became BBC Chairman last year, I told him I thought there was a strong case for handing over to a successor sooner rather than later. From the point of view of the BBC, I thought that my successor should have time to really get their feet under the table before the next Charter Review process got going.

I have told the Chairman that I believe that he and the Trust should begin the public process of finding the next DG as soon as they see fit. I will of course help them in that endeavour in any way I can. We can address the exact date of the handover once an appointment is made, though I have made it clear that I want to be guided by the wishes of the Trust and of my successor, whoever that may be.

Thompson noted that he had been the longest serving director-general at the broadcaster since the 1970s and said that he had "weathered a series of lively storms" during that tenure.

Indeed, in recent years the BBC has undergone big budget cuts that have led to some of its staff and operations being moved to just outside Manchester, while its online estate has been heavily trimmed. ®

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