LONDON (Reuters) – Britain names former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp as the next BBC president, tasked with agreeing on a long-term financing model for the broadcaster at a time of growing competition and political control.
Sharp is a former Conservative Party donor and worked with Finance Minister Rishi Sunak at Goldman Sachs, according to a BBC news report. He recently recommended Sunak.
The president, officially appointed by the queen on the recommendation of the government, is responsible for maintaining and protecting the BBC’s independence, which is financed by a fee paid by every family who watches TV.
The appointment was reported for the first time by Sky News. It was also reported by the BBC itself. The government department for digital, culture, media and sport declined to comment.
The new president will join the broadcaster as it faces some of the biggest threats to its future since it was founded 98 years ago.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed skepticism about the canon at a time when the BBC’s television audience is shrinking and streaming services like Netflix are growing in popularity.
Sharp will succeed David Clementi, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, who will step down next month after four years. Clementi received a commission of £ 100,000 a year, according to the BBC.
Former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp will chair the BBC, the UK government says
A committee of lawmakers overseeing the government department’s work said it was disappointed to see the news of the leak.
“The committee had previously expressed some concerns about the nomination process, calling for it to be fair and transparent,” President Julian Knight said in a statement.
A review of the BBC’s funding is expected in 2022 before its royal card needs to be renewed in 2027.
The BBC is often accused of bias by critics from both ends of the political spectrum. While some conservatives perceive him as London-centered and left-wing, those on the left of the opposition Labor Party see him as biased towards them.
Clementi confirmed he would step down in June when he announced the appointment of Tim Davie as the broadcaster’s new CEO.
Davie is chief editor, responsible for the BBC’s content on television, radio and online services, as well as leading its operations.
Reportage by Paul Sandle and Sarah Young; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Alison Williams