BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons to step down

Sir Michael Lyons Sir Michael took over the post from Michael Grade

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BBC Trust chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, has revealed he will not seek to be re-appointed in the role when his four-year term ends next May.

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Sir Michael said the Trust is "robust, workable and effective".

But he acknowledged that "much of course remains to be done".

The Trust aims to support the BBC, guard its independence and act in the best interest of licence fee payers.

Sir Michael said the job had been more "demanding" than specified and it was not allowing him to give time to other projects.

The former council chief executive and market trader replaced Michael Grade as the Trust chairman when Grade moved to ITV in April 2007.

Jeremy Hunt told a Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Tuesday that Sir Michael had telephoned him that morning to tell him his decision.

"I thanked him for his contribution as chairman of the BBC Trust and said on a personal level I got on well with him, but it was his decision not to re-apply and I've accepted that decision," he said.

Mr Hunt added that although there were no plans to change the existing governing structure of the BBC within the current parliament, there were new suggestions on how BBC governance could be improved, including appointing a non-executive chairman.

The BBC Trust replaced the BBC's board of governors in January 2007. The government said it was intended to ensure an "unprecedented obligation to openness and transparency."

The change came in the wake of the Hutton Report in 2004, which highlighted problems with the governors' dual role as both the corporation's champions and regulators.

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