In the wake of last week's heist by the BBC of Channel 4 chief executive Mark Thompson [WAMN: 24-May-04], the publicly-owned commercial broadcaster has hired headhunter Whitehead Mann GKR to put together a six-strong candidate shortlist.

Word around the media parish pump favours Dawn Airey, network chief at Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB, as frontrunner for the vacant post -- although there is no evidence that Airey would consider the job. Especially as C4 is unlikely to match the Mephistophelian largesse of its rival.

Another name bandied around the pump is Kevin Lygo, currently C4's director of programmes.

Wildly speculating journos have also conjured from the hat such possibles as BBC director of television, Jana Bennett, Endemol UK chairman Peter Bazalgette (whose claim to immortality rests with ratings runaway Big Brother); and Peter Fincham, chief executive of Talkback Thames.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff