The refusal to urgently appoint a replacement for Neil Cossons at a time when serious negotiations are taking place - over the Comprehensive Spending Review and the Heritage White Paper - will dismay EH staffers and place additional pressure on chief executive Simon Thurley.
'The DCMS have now confirmed that the Secretary of State has decided to rerun the competition to find a new Chairman of English Heritage.
'The Secretary of State felt that, although the shortlisted candidates were all high-quality individuals, no single candidate quite demonstrated the full range of essential criteria which were published in the role specification.
'The DCMS have not yet set a date for announcing the new competition but we expect this to be soon,' he added.
The two shortlisted candidates were: Lady Cobham, currently Chair of The British Casino Association; and Lord Marland, Conservative Party Treasurer.