Eagerness to move back to the richer pickings of the commercial world has reportedly prompted Stephen Carter, ceo of UK media and telecoms regulator Ofcom, to announce his resignation effective 15 October.

Carter (42), a former ceo at JWT London, joined Ofcom in February 2003 after two short but highly enriching years at red ink-drenched cable operator NTL from which he 'retired' with a payoff and bonus of £1.6 million ($2.97m; €2.33m). His salary at Ofcom is believed to be a mere £400,000.

The criteria by which success or failure at Ofcom is measured are far less concrete than those of the commercial world and there has been remarkably little public playback as to Carter's perceived performance.

Which did not deter Ofcom chairman David Currie from delivering the panegyric customary in such cases. "Stephen took on an immensely challenging task - and has performed outstandingly. His legacy is an effective and credible organisation which plays an important role in delivering greater choice, lower prices and greater innovation."

Carter's own comments on his forthcoming departure were of similar tenor to those of his chairman. "There is never a good time to leave a great job," he said. "However, Ofcom is now firmly established, broadband and digital competition are delivering real results, and the recent extension of David's [Currie's] term makes for an orderly transition."

From August 1 2006 and until Carter's successor is installed, Currie will act as executive chairman and head the Policy Executive - the committee that guides the direction of Ofcom policy - as well as the Ofcom board.

It is hoped that a new ceo will be in place by early autumn, in time to work on Ofcom's annual plan for the 2007/8 financial year. The post will be advertised nationally and open to external and internal candidates.

The smart money, however, is on Ed Richards, a former advisor to [and appointee of] prime minister Blair and, to all intents and purpose, Carter's present deputy at Ofcom.

By coincidence, Richards was promoted last summer, adding operational responsibilities to his existing role. He also attended the obligatory Harvard management course.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK) and Ofcom; additional content by WARC staff