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UK regulator applies for top BBC job

The CEO of UK media regulator Ofcom has stepped back from any issues that might concern the BBC after applying to become the pubcaster’s new director general.

Ed Richards has headed Ofcom since October 2006 and has been widely tipped as the successor to current BBC boss Mark Thompson, who will step down after the London Olympics this summer.

The regulator yesterday confirmed that Richards had applied for the post and as a result has “already stepped aside from all discussions and communication at all levels on matters where the BBC may have an interest.”

Ofcom said in a statement that “robust procedures” have been put in place to “prevent any potential conflict of interest.”

Richards joined Ofcom in 2003 as a senior partner, prior to which he was senior policy advisor on media, telecoms, internet and e-government to UK prime minister Tony Blair. Before that he was controller of corporate strategy at the BBC.

In applying for the top job at the BBC he is expected to go up against a string of internal candidates tipped to include chief operating officer Caroline Thomson, BBC News director Helen Boaden and BBC Vision director George Entwistle.

Advertising the post last month, the BBC said that the successful candidate would need “an international mindset” and an “understanding of new platforms and technologies,” but added that experience as a journalist or as a programme maker wasn’t essential.


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