Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker, has been appointed as the next Chairman of the BBC Board.
After the announcement he said “The BBC is at the heart of British cultural life and I’m honoured to be offered the chance to help guide it through the next chapter in its history.” He will take over the role in February from Sir David Clementi. He has held a number of roles within the Financial Sector; he was on the Bank of England’s financial policy committee from 2013 to 2019. However, he has been credited with playing a key role in the £1.5bn arts bailout package announced by the Chancellor last summer. His association with Rishi Sunak can be traced back to Goldman Sachs, where Richard Sharp was his boss. He was also an adviser to Boris Johnson during his time as Lord Mayor of London. Whilst his Conservative credentials and connections are not in doubt, he was also Chair of the Royal Academy for seven years and a director of the Olympic legacy board.
As Chairman he is tasked with protecting the BBC’s independence and setting its overall strategic direction. He joins the BBC at a time when the Corporation is under fierce pressure about its future funding and the sustainability of the licence fee. It faces increasing competition for audiences from commercial global streaming platforms. There are many challenges facing the BBC at the present time. It remains to be seen if the new Chairman, with his Government connections, can persuade and influence Government that it is and will be fit for purpose now and for future generations.