THE managing director of television at RTE, Noel Curran, is to quit the position in a surprise move.
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, RTE said that Mr Curran would leave on May 16 to pursue "other interests".
He has been with the broadcaster since 1992, and had in the past been tipped to take over the director general position from Cathal Goan.
The Irish Independent understands the decision to quit was based on a "quality of life" issue. He recently became a new father and his family lives in Monaghan.
RTE said he would continue to work with the broadcaster in an advisory capacity, while the search for his replacement will be through internal and external interviews next month.
'The Late Late Show' host Ryan Tubridy has described the move as a "pity", while former 'Prime Time' host Mark Little said that Mr Curran was "one of most gifted people I ever worked with". "It is something of a surprise because he was the longest ever MD of television here after seven years," an RTE insider said last night.
Efforts to contact Mr Curran yesterday were unsuccessful.
"I've been fortunate enough to work with some incredibly talented people both in RTE and in the independent sector," he said in a statement.
The Monaghan native worked as a business journalist before joining RTE as a reporter, and moving into production roles in entertainment, factual and current affairs programming. He left Montrose in 2000 to become director of an independent production company but returned as current affairs editor and was instrumental in launching the 'Prime Time Investigates' series.