A senior RTHK official says he is ready to take the helm from chief Chu Pui-hing, who is seeking an abrupt departure from the public broadcaster. But assistant director of broadcasting Tai Kee-man steered clear of the row over whether the job should be filled by an administrative officer. In a rare departure from civil service protocol, Mr Tai said yesterday he was ready for the top job - even though the government has yet to announce whether it has approved Mr Chu's request for early retirement. 'If I am approached by government officials, I'm ready to take up the challenge,' he told a forum organised by the Save RTHK campaign at the Foreign Correspondents' Club. Mr Tai is two ranks below Mr Chu. Last year, instead of promoting Mr Tai, the government appointed Gracie Foo Siu-wai, an administrative officer from outside RTHK, to the post of deputy director. Mr Chu is seeking to step down after photographs of him hiding behind a woman reported to be a karaoke hostess appeared in the press. He has taken one month's leave pending a decision on his early retirement. Mr Tai would not be drawn on the drawbacks of an administrative officer running RTHK.