Former Birmingham City Council chief executive Sir Michael Lyons has emerged as favourite to succeed Michael Grade as the £140,000-a-year chairman of the BBC.
Sir Michael, who recently completed a three-year study into the future of local government, is understood to have been interviewed for the high-profile job along with other contenders. However, the appointment would raise allegations of cronyism because Sir Michael is said to be close to Chancellor Gordon Brown and is a former Labour councillor.
If he gets the job, Sir Michael, aged 57, will be the first chairman of the BBC Trust - the body set up to tackle governance shortcomings identified in the Hutton report. The appointment must be approved by the Culture Secretary, the Prime Minister, the Privy Council and the Queen.
A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport would not comment on Sir Michael, but added: "We do expect to be able to make an announcement shortly."
Sir Michael, who lives in Sutton Coldfield, began life as a market trader, before moving into politics. He was a Birmingham city councillor and became the local authority's chief executive. During his career he also ran Wolverhampton and Nottingham city councils. He is professor of public policy at Birmingham University and a former acting chairman of the Audit Commission.