Former Financial Times editor Richard Lambert has been identified as one of 79 applicants for the post of BBC chairman, which became vacant after Gavyn Davies quit in the wake of the Hutton Report.
Lambert, already familiar with the workings of the BBC after reviewing the News 24 rolling news service last year on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is thought in some quarters to be one of the favourites to land the post, as is former Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade.
Outgoing Tory MP Michael Portillo, whose television presenting career is in the ascendant, has also been touted as a candidate. While the DCMS would not confirm the identities of any applicants, there are said to be up to four times more than when Davies was appointed in 2001.
The department hopes to appoint a new chairman to the £81,320 a year, four-day week post by Easter, who will then play an integral part in selecting the new director general. That role’s responsibilities are currently being handled by acting director general Mark Byford.
A scrutiny panel for the appointment will be chaired by Dame Rennie Fritchie, the commissioner for public appointments, according to Media Secretary Tessa Jowell, but the DCMS has not as yet disclosed the names of panel members.