Waitrose boss Mark Price is poised to become interim chairman at Channel 4 when Lord Burns steps down early next year.

Channel 4 and broadcasting regulator Ofcom have been holding discussions about Price, who is already deputy chair at the broadcaster, taking on the acting chairman role, according to Sky News.

Ofcom reportedly recommended Lord Burns be granted an extension to his chairmanship when his term expires in four months’ time, but the proposal was rejected by ministers who are keen to explore a sale of Channel 4.

Waitrose managing director Price has been deputy chairman at Channel 4 since July 2013 and is also deputy chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.

It is understood Price’s other commitments mean it is unlikely he will be able to take on the chair role at Channel 4 full time.

Price stepping up to the chairman role are designed to be a backup measure in case the recruitment process for a replacement for Lord Burns takes longer than anticipated, according to The Guardian.

The deadline for applicants closes next month and Ofcom hopes to appoint a successor to Burns before he steps down at the end of January.

The advertisement for the job role includes a remit to “guide the organisation through a period of substantial change in the sector”.