Contender for BBC Top Slot Pulls Out of Race

23 April 2004

One of the highfliers tipped to become next director general of state broadcaster the BBC says he isn’t interested.

“I absolutely intend to stay at Channel 4 and deal with the incredibly interesting and challenging questions of the next stage of our development,” declared Mark Thompson, the channel’s chief executive.

Thompson, who left the BBC two years ago, is aware Channel 4 faces a tough future. Last year’s pre-tax profits rose from £16.5 million ($291m; €247m) to more than £45 million ($79.5m; €63m). However audience share for the advertising funded network is slipping. Down from 10% to 9.6% in the UK’s highly competitive multi-channel market.

Thompson’s decision may come as a relief to other possible contenders for the BBC job. It has been vacant since Greg Dyke quit earlier this year following publication of the Hutton Report which was highly critical of the corporation and some of its journalism in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff