Mark Thompson, the BBC’s Director-General is leaving the corporation this autumn after eight years in the job. He has been the BBC’s longest-serving Director General since the 1970s.

His departure was not unexpected. In January, Lord Patten, who runs the BBC Trust, said the corporation was engaged in “sensible succession planning” to find a replacement.

In an email on Monday, Mr Thompson paid tribute to staff, and called the BBC “the best broadcaster in the world”.

“We’ve weathered a series of lively storms and been through some trying, as well as some very successful, times together.

“What has made my job not just bearable, but immensely enjoyable and rewarding, is all of you: Your talent and energy, your unshakeable belief in the BBC and everything it stands for.”