The identity of the new chairman of the BBC will be announced Friday. The successful candidate will replace Gavyn Davies, the millionaire former Goldman Sachs economist, who resigned amid the political fallout from the monochrome certainties of the Hutton Report.

Such is the political importance of the appointment -- formally the prerogative of the Queen -- that it also requires the benediction of Premier Tony Blair. Those who value the independence of the BBC will gain little comfort that the chosen one is described by government insiders as "a safe pair of hands".

Among the candidates shortlisted for the hotseat are BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby (whose family and broadcasting background are both deeply rooted in the BBC establishment); and former Channel Four boss Michael Grade, a respected TV programmer and businessman.

Many believe the latter to be the ideal candidate for director general of the publicly-owned broadcaster, rather than its chairman.

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