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BBC Chief Mark Thompson Stepping Down

The director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, is stepping down later this year following the London Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee. In an email to staff, Thompson announced his decision and saluted employees.

“We’ve weathered a series of lively storms and been through some trying, as well as some very successful, times together,” Thompson wrote. Thompson has been the longest-serving director general of the public broadcaster since the 1970′s.

The director general of the BBC is one of the most powerful media positions in the world, let alone the U.K. Thompson oversaw a suite of radio stations and TV networks in the U.K., as well as BBC News. The British broadcaster also has an ownership stake in dozens of channels and media outlets across the world, including BBC World News and BBC America.

Helen Boaden, the BBC’s news chief, is considered among the candidates to replace Thompson.

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