By Maximilian Clarke

Mark Thompson, the BBC’s longest serving Director General since the 1970s, has announced his intention to step down after the ‘amazing summer’ of 2012.

Thompson encouraged the BBC’s Chariman to seek a replacement ‘sooner rather than later’, in order to secure a replacement with the same innovative approach Thompson embodied.

“I’ve always been on the side of change because I believe that, in the middle of a media revolution, change is the only way of safeguarding what is so precious about the BBC,” wrote Thompson to BBC staff in a letter announcing his departure. ‘But change always brings disruption and uncertainty in its wake — and I do want to say a particular thank you to everyone who has worked with me in the difficult task of transforming the BBC. Thank you for your commitment and for your patience.’

Thompson then celebrated the efforts of all of the world’s largest broadcaster’s 23,000 employees:

It’s because of your efforts that the BBC I will be leaving is so much stronger than the BBC I inherited back in 2004. Trust and approval are at record highs, our services are in brilliant creative form and we’ve demonstrated beyond contradiction that the BBC can be just as much of a leader and innovator in the digital age as we once were in the analogue one. Now more than ever, to audiences at home and abroad the BBC is the best broadcaster in the world. It’s been a great privilege helping you to keep the BBC in that top spot over the past eight years.

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