Although the resignation of ceo Stephen Carter from UK media regulator Ofcom was announced two months ago [WAMN: 29-May-06], it was stated he would remain in situ until October 31.

However, it was announced yesterday he will now quit at the end of this month - despite the fact that a successor has yet to be appointed.

When Carter's resignation was first announced, Ofcom said he would continue to lead operational and financial matters until his departure, although his involvement with the regulator's economic, competition and policy decisions would cease as of August 1.

The rationale for that abstention was that Carter would likely return to the commercial media sector, therefore making it inappropriate for him to be involved in any matters that might relate to his future career.

Yesterday's statement signals that something has changed, although Carter was tactically "unavailable" to explain the abrupt advancement of his departure.

Ofcom chairman, Lord David Currie will temporarily fill the vacuum until a new ceo is appointed. Meantime, the spin-doctors were pouring oil on troubled waters.

"Given that the ceo transition process has progressed effectively, including a seamless handover of both formal accountability as well as executive management responsibilities, the board has agreed that Stephen Carter will leave Ofcom at the end of this month . . . and will play no further role in the organization beyond that point," glossed an Ofcom statement

The bulletin's wording intrigued industry onlookers, many of whom wonder how "the ceo transition process" and "seamless handover" have been accomplished when no successor has been announced - let alone in place?

Industry haruspices prophesy that news of a new top level appointment for Carter is imminent. Some are even mentioning the letters I and T and V.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff