Finance Industry Veteran David Clementi Named BBC Chair

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The former deputy head of the Bank of England will lead a new unitary board of the U.K. public broadcaster and effectively replace outgoing Rona Fairhead.

David Clementi, who drew up a report calling for the current BBC Trust governing body to be abolished, has been picked as the U.K. government's preferred candidate for the role of chair of the public broadcaster's new unitary board.

The government, led by prime minister Theresa May, unveiled him as its pick to lead the BBC’s new board based on a recommendation by culture secretary Karen Bradley. The official appointment must still be made by Queen Elizabeth II.

Current BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead said in the fall that she would resign. Her decision came after May required her to reapply for the role as chair of the new board.

Clementi is a former deputy governor of the Bank of England and chairman of Prudential and Virgin Money. His report on the BBC governance set-up last year called for a unitary board similar to the boards used by publicly traded companies, calling the current BBC Trust "flawed." The government adopted the recommendations of his report and said oversight of the BBC should be handed over to media and telecom regulator Ofcom.

The government was understood to have had three candidates on a shortlist. The Guardian reported that the two other candidates were Deirdre Hutton, chair of the Civil Aviation Authority who was seen as having little media industry experience, and John Makinson, chairman of book publisher Penguin Random House.

Clementi "will bring a wealth of experience to the role and was the strongest candidate in an extremely competitive and high-caliber field," said Bradley. "He has extensive experience as a chairman in both the commercial and not-for-profit sector, and has a strong regulatory and business background. I am confident that under his direction, the nation’s broadcaster will continue to go from strength to strength."

Said Clementi: "The BBC is a world-class broadcaster and one of the U.K.’s most beloved and cherished institutions. It would be a great honor to join the BBC at an important time in the organization’s history."

The government's preferred candidate will appear before the British Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for "pre-appointment scrutiny" on Jan. 17.