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Thompson 'saddened' by BBC scandal

Mark Thompson, the former director-general of the BBC, said he was "very saddened" by the scandal which has engulfed the broadcaster.

He told reporters he had "no doubt it will get back on its feet" as he arrived for work on the first day of his new job as chief executive of the New York Times (NYT).

In a video published on the ITV News website, he said: "Like many people, I'm very saddened by recent events at the BBC.

"But I believe the BBC is the world's greatest broadcaster, and I've got no doubt that it will once again regain the public's trust both in the UK and around the world.

"It's a very important institution, and I believe it's full of people of integrity and talent, and I've got no doubt it will get back on its feet really soon."

Concerns were raised by NYT staff last month about Mr Thompson's appointment in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The newspaper's public editor Margaret Sullivan, whose role is to oversee standards, questioned his claim that he had not been formally told of a Newsnight investigation into Savile's activities, which was eventually shelved.

And columnist Joe Nocera also said in the paper that Mr Thompson appeared "wilfully ignorant" of the issues and questioned what sort of an organisation the BBC was under his command. He added there was "plainly" a cover-up.

Mr Nocera wrote: "Thompson now says that at a cocktail party last December, a BBC reporter said to him, 'You must be worried about the Newsnight investigation into Jimmy Savile'.

"Soon thereafter, Thompson asked his underlings about the investigation and was told that it had been killed - for journalistic reasons. He claims to have inquired no further, not even to ask what the investigation was about."

Ms Sullivan said of Mr Thompson: "It's worth considering now whether he is the right person for the job, given this turn of events."

Mr Thompson said as he arrived at his new employer: "I believe that it will not, in any way, affect my job, which I'm starting right now, as chief executive of the New York Times company."

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