BBC chief eyes New York Times post

Mark Thompson to leave pubcaster in fall

LONDON — Outgoing BBC director general Mark Thompson is negotiating with the New York Times with a view to becoming its new CEO.

If Thompson lands the job it would fill the vacancy left after Janet Robinson was fired last year.

Reports in local media suggest that talks between Thompson and the New York Times are ongoing, but he is understood to be considering other jobs as well.

He is due to end an eight-year term at the pubcaster this fall once the London Olympics end, with a successor expected to be appointed early July.

Thompson, who is 54, is married to an American, Jane Blumberg, and there has long been speculation that he might work in the U.S. once he exits the Beeb.

He is widely regarded as having done a good job at the BBC, restoring stability after his predecessor, Greg Dyke, was forced to resign following a row with then-prime minister Tony Blair’s government over how the BBC reported the run-up to the Iraq war.

Thompson successfully negotiated a new license fee deal with the U.K.’s coalition government in a frenetic two weeks of talks in the fall of 2010, which has led to cuts of around 20% across the BBC.

Cerebral and well read, with a background in BBC journalism, Thompson is not a born communicator and has sometimes struggled to get his message across, both to staff and to U.K. opinion formers.

He was briefly CEO at rival U.K. pubcaster Channel 4 before returning to the BBC.

A BBC spokesperson said: “As you might expect, Mark Thompson has had a number of approaches. He has taken no decision.”