Cardiff-based ELWa, Education and Learning Wales, issued a statement saying none of the shortlisted applicants had been good enough.
But FErret this week heard a different version of events. My source tells me that ELWa offered the job to a number of candidates - all of whom turned it down. They included college principals and one contender from outside further education.
ELWa's plight will sound familiar to those who follow the fortunes of its English equivalent, the Learning and Skills Council, where several people also turned their noses up at the chief executive's post after the resignation of John Harwood.
Eventually, the hot seat in Coventry was taken by former Trinity Mirror executive Mark Haysom - but only after the salary was increased from pound;125,000 to pound;200,000. ELWa may have to show the colour of its money if it wants an experienced hand on the tiller.