BBC Trust Discusses Hiring Process for New Boss

Chris Patten - H 2012

The governing body wants a new director general within weeks of George Entwistle's resignation Saturday.

LONDON - The BBC Trust, the governing body of the British public broadcaster, held a meeting on Thursday to discuss next steps for the hiring process of a new director general.

A spokeswoman for the trust declined to comment on details of the discussions, but a source said the trust reiterated its goal of picking a new leader within weeks. BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten had on Sunday set that timing target in a TV interview.

Thursday's meeting focused on which short-listed candidates from the previous hiring process that took place over the summer should be invited back for another interview, according to a source. The 12-member body was also believed to have talked about which other outside candidates to approach about the job without starting a new formal search process that would require an executive search firm.

The meeting was the first since the trust met Sunday with acting BBC director general Tim Davie. It had tapped him to run the broadcaster on an interim basis after Saturday night's resignation of director general George Entwistle after only 54 days in the job.

Earlier on Thursday, it emerged that former BBC COO Caroline Thomson would take on another position, ruling her out of contention for the BBC top job. After losing out to Entwistle this summer, she had widely been seen as one of the top contenders.

Ed Richards, the head of U.K. media regulator Ofcom, is widely expected to get another interview in the race for the top BBC post since he was also on the short list of the top four candidates this summer.

Davie, who was previously tapped to become head of BBC Worldwide after serving as the director of BBC Audio and Music, is now widely believed to not be a contender. But Pearson boss Marjorie Scardino, who has announced she would step down as CEO at the end of the year, Tony Hall, a former BBC director of news who is currently CEO of the Royal Opera House, ITV's director of television Peter Fincham and former Channel 4 CEO Michael Jackson have been mentioned as candidates who could be approached about the job.

It wasn't immediately clear when first interviews would take place, with industry observers suggesting they could begin as early as late next week or the week after.

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