RTÉ director general Cathal Goan is set to step down from his lucrative €320,000-plus a year post after completing a seven-year term.
At a meeting with the state broadcaster’s board chairman, Tom Savage, yesterday, Mr Goan confirmed he was not interested in extending his stay at the helm.
The outgoing director general has been at the head of RTÉ since 2003, overseeing a period of significant structural upheaval and financial difficulties.
The Belfast-born UCD graduate joined the station in 1979, where he worked as a radio producer before moving to current affairs television in 1988. He was later appointed editor of Cúrsaí, the Irish language current affairs and arts programme, editor of Irish language programming in 1990, and Ceannasaí of Teilifís na Gaeilge in 1994.
In 2000 he was named as director of RTÉ television and a member of the RTÉ executive board, and became director general in 2003.
Reacting to the move, Mr Savage said Mr Goan — who will continue in the position until a replacement is found — would be greatly missed as, “despite the obvious managerial responsibilities of the role, he always understood that programmes and the audience are what RTÉ is here for”.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan described Mr Goan as “a brilliant mind” who has made “a genuine contribution to the arts in Ireland”.
The surprise resignation has resulted in a number of senior behind-the-scenes RTÉ names being suggested as replacement. The most likely contenders to become the new director general are believed to include financial adviser since 2001 Conor Hayes and managing director of news Ed Mulhall.
Glen Killane, who was appointed RTÉ TV managing director in May, and his radio counterpart Clare Duignan are also understood to be in contention.
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