RTE's head of news has admitted he doesn't know if it was a "failure of management or strong management" that Pat Kenny was not convinced to remain at the station.
Kevin Bakhurst, who was speaking to students at GMIT in Galway about the challenges facing public service broadcasting, said: "With Pat we tried to keep him. We made what we thought was a good offer.
"We knew for a while that there was potentially someone else out there but we felt there was a certain place that we shouldn't go beyond," he said.
Wishing the Newstalk presenter all the best, Mr Bakhurst said the move was "a new adventure at 65" for the RTE veteran.
However, he said the move had resulted in a new creativity within RTE.
"It is sad to lose experience and talented people, for whatever reason, but it creates this opportunity within the organisation and it creates a new energy and that's what we've found. There is a real new energy across the output.
"I don't know if it was a failure of management or strong management I'll leave that for you to judge," he said.
He also praised the work of Sean O'Rourke and David McCullagh, revealing that the former political correspondent was surprised to be offered Kenny's job.
Mr Bakhurst also sang the praises of 'Love/Hate', admitting that if they had the money they would commission two seasons of the hit series each year.
He also told students how RTE's greatest competition was not TV3 but Sky.
In 2011, Sky took 43pc of TV revenue in Ireland, with a revenue of €382m compared to RTE's €235m.
"The argument really in terms of the new broadcasting charge and the argument we have been putting is that to protect properly producing Irish drama, Irish comedy, music and Irish language and carry on that important cultural role, we need an organisation that is substantial enough to face the competition that we now face from outside, particularly Sky.
"I keep going back to Sky but they are the ones taking all the money out of the market and investing very little here. So I think it's key that there continues to be proper funding of RTE," he added.