Mark Thompson testifies at London probe into BBC

November 24, 2012 • Business

In this image released by the UK Broadcasters Pool, Mark Thompson, newly named CEO of The New York Times Co., arrives at the paper’s offices, Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 in New York. Thomson, the former BBC director general was hired in August and hailed as someone who could help the company generate new revenue at a time when print publications are suffering from the loss of readers and advertisers. But in recent months, Thompson has faced questions over a decision by the BBC’s “Newsnight” program to shelve an investigation into child sexual-abuse allegations against renowned British television host Jimmy Savile. (AP Photo/UK Broadcasters Pool)

LONDON (AP) — New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson has testified before a committee in London investigating a scandal at his former employer, the BBC, a Times spokesman said Friday.

Thompson gave testimony Friday to the inquiry, which is looking into the BBC’s decision to shelve an investigation into child sex abuse allegations against late presenter Jimmy Savile, the Times’ senior vice president of corporate communications Robert Christie said.

Christie said he could not discuss the contents of Thompson’s testimony, only saying that Thompson, 55, was expected to return to New York by Monday.

The inquiry is probing why and how the BBC ended a planned sex abuse investigation into Savile, a popular children’s TV presenter and DJ who died last year at age 84.

Thompson, who was director general of the BBC until his resignation earlier this year, faces questions about the broadcaster’s handling of the Savile allegations because the decision to drop the investigation took place while he was in charge of the company.

Nick Pollard, who chairs the inquiry, said Friday the committee had looked at thousands of documents and has so far conducted 12 interviews, with more planned. He said the large amount of evidence meant that the committee would need another month to finish its report.

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