Mark Thompson signs off from the BBC

Mark Thompson, seen with BBC chairman Lord Patten and the Queen at the opening of the Salford offices Mark Thompson, seen with BBC chairman Lord Patten and the Queen at the Salford offices, said the BBC was a "great British success story"

Mark Thompson has thanked staff as his eight-year tenure as director general comes to an end on Sunday.

In an email to all workers at the BBC, he wrote: "I feel I've asked so much of everyone, piling all sorts of new projects and pressures on top of what were already very demanding jobs and yet, time and again, you've responded brilliantly and (most of the time!) uncomplainingly."

He said he was proud of the BBC's achievements "never more so than during this amazing summer of 2012" which saw the corporation cover the London Olympics in unprecedented scale.

"We've never recorded higher scores for trust and appreciation of the BBC and that's entirely down to you," he added.

He will be replaced on Monday by BBC Vision director George Entwistle, who will become the 15th director general.

George Entwistle George Entwistle will be the 15th director general

Thompson, who has known Entwistle since they worked on Panorama, said: "He's a programme-maker through and through and I know he will always put creativity first in all of his plans for the BBC.

"Sometimes, especially from the inside, the BBC can feel vulnerable and isolated.

"But it has more talent to call on than any media player anywhere, it has embraced the digital era with gusto, and - as we've seen this summer - it has the British public right behind it."

Thompson signed off with the words: "The BBC is a great British success story and it's going to go on being a success story. So good luck - and enjoy it."

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