Ex-BBC Boss Starts Post as New York Times Co. CEO as Planned

Mark Thompson
Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

UPDATED: Mark Thompson begins his job Monday despite a crisis at the BBC, saying it “will not in any way affect my job."

The New York Times Co. said Sunday night that former BBC boss Mark Thompson would take over as CEO of the newspaper company on Monday despite a deepening crisis at his former employer that has raised questions about his tenure at the U.K. public broadcaster.

"He is going to be CEO beginning November 12," a New York Times spokesman told Reuters late on Sunday.

Thompson on Monday similarly told ITV News tthat he BBC crisis “will not in any way affect my job, which I’m starting right now.”

The New York Times Co. reiterated its confidence in its new CEO following late Saturday news that George Entwistle had resigned as director general of the BBC after a report on flagship news show Newsnightincorrectly suggested that a British politician sexually abused children. Entwistle had replaced Thompson, but was in his role for only 54 days.

The botched news report came amid a continuing crisis about sexual abuse allegations against late former BBC host Jimmy Savile and a late 2011 decision by Newsnight to drop a planned report about complaints against Savile. Thompson was running the BBC back then. The BBC director general is also the broadcaster's editor-in-chief.

Thompson has said that he did not know about the nature of the Newsnight report and had no role in the decision to stop it from airing. His role was questioned by such people as the New York Times ombudsman. Still, amid Entwistle's departure, some observers had wondered over the weekend if Thompson would start his New York Times job.

Asked about Entwistle's resignation, Thompson told ITV News Monday: "I’m very saddened by recent events at the BBC." But he added that it "is the world’s greatest broadcaster" and predicted it would get rebound from the crisis.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai