New York Times CEO Mark Thompson in London for BBC testimony

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(Reuters) – New York Times Co Chief Executive Mark Thompson was in London on Friday to answer questions at a BBC inquiry involving a shelved “Newsnight” program about the late Jimmy Savile, who is accused of sexually abusing hundreds of young people for decades.

“Thompson is expected to be back in the office on Monday,” said a New York Times spokesman who confirmed Thompson was at the BBC-appointed inquiry.

Thompson was head of the BBC from 2004 until September during the controversy surrounding the news program that investigated the allegations about Savile.

While the program never aired, the BBC instead ran laudatory shows about Savile, the popular “Top of the Pops” BBC presenter, who died last year.

In October, a rival broadcaster aired a program about Savile that tipped a series of scandals — including another Newsnight program that wrongly accused a former politician of committing sexual abuse– that has roiled the British broadcaster.

It caused its director general George Entwistle to step down and has sparked police and parliamentary inquiries

The Guardian reported on Friday that Thompson was expected to be questioned about what he knew about the Savile allegations and when he knew about them. Thompson was not at the BBC during the other Newsnight program that aired false allegations.

Thompson did not immediately responded to a request for comment about the details of the inquiry.

Thompson started his job at the New York Times on November 12.

On Thursday the BBC named to head of the Royal Opera House Tony Hall as its director general to help restore the broadcaster as Britain’s most treasured institutions.

(Reporting By Jennifer Saba in New York- Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

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