US & Canada

Ex-BBC Mark Thompson starts as New York Times boss

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Media captionEx-BBC boss Mark Thompson: "I'm very saddened by events at the BBC"

Former BBC director general Mark Thompson has started his new job as chief executive and president of the New York Times newspaper.

His appointment has been questioned by some staff at the newspaper, who want to know more about his part in the crisis enveloping the BBC.

Arriving at his office, Mr Thompson said he was saddened by events, but confident the BBC would bounce back.

"I believe the BBC is the world's greatest broadcaster," he said.

"And I have got no doubt that it will once again regain the public's trust both in the UK and around the world."

Mr Thompson led the BBC from 2004-2012, overseeing the British corporation's TV, radio and online services.

The Times appointed the 55-year-old in August, saying his experience in global media made him the "ideal candidate".

But he faces questions over the BBC's decision to shelve a Newsnight programme about sex abuse claims surrounding the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile.

The programme was axed while Mr Thompson was still in charge.

Mr Thompson left the BBC on 14 September, before the making of another Newsnight programme which led to former Conservative party treasurer Lord McAlpine being wrongly accused of child abuse.

The crisis over that broadcast led to the resignation of his successor, George Entwistle, on Saturday.

Role a 'privilege'

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera has accused the incoming chief executive of "appearing wilfully ignorant" about the Savile scandal.

Mr Nocera also questioned whether Mr Thompson was the right man for the job.

Mr Thompson started his career as a production trainee at the BBC in 1979 before leaving in 2002 to become chief executive of Channel 4 television.

He later returned to the BBC as director general.

In a statement in August, NYT chairman Arthur Sulzberger said Mr Thompson was "a gifted executive with strong credentials whose leadership at the BBC helped it to extend its trusted brand identity into new digital products and services".

For his part, Mr Thompson said it was a "privilege" to take on the role.

"I'm particularly excited to be coming to New York Times Company as it extends its influence digitally and globally," he said.

The company, which owns the New York Times, International Herald Tribune and the Boston Globe newspapers, posted revenues of $2.3bn (£1.47bn) in 2011.

It has been without a chief executive since Janet Robinson stepped down in December 2011.

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