LONDON, May 28 (Reuters) - Ed Richards, the head of British broadcasting regulator Ofcom, has applied to become the next director-general of the BBC, Ofcom confirmed on Monday.
Ofcom is currently conducting an investigation of whether BSkyB is a fit and proper owner of a broadcast licence, given the 39 percent stake held by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp , and his son James's directorship of the company.
The Murdochs have waged a public battle against the BBC , whose power they view as distorting the market because of its public funding.
Ofcom said in a statement on Monday: "Ed has already stepped aside from all discussions and communication at all levels on matters where the BBC may have an interest."
Richards is the first to publicly throw his hat into the ring to succeed Mark Thompson, who is due to step down after the London Olympics, which end in August.
He is also the favourite, according to bookmakers. Other front runners include George Entwistle, Caroline Thomson and Helen Boarden, who are all internal candidates.