After a six-year stint as BBC Worldwide ceo, Rupert Gavin has decided to call it a day. And it may not be coincidence that his timing matches speculation over the sale of the BBC's commercial division.

Under Gavin's leadership, BBC global media exports have risen by 96%. BBC Worldwide's interests also include magazine publishing and merchandise such as books and music. A profitable business and one that could sell for £1 billion ($1.87bn; €1.5bn).

Any such sale would be dictated by new BBC director general, Mark Thompson, who praised Gavin for maximising "the value of BBC assets" and growing "the BBC name around the world" during his leadership of Worldwide.

Gavin has admitted a more than passing interest in the "strong future" of BBCWW. Word within the BBC and among media observers is that he will not sever ties when he leaves the company in October, but step in as bidder should the unit be put up for sale.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff