Former Goldman Sachs Banker Richard Sharp to Become BBC Chair

BBC headquarters
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BBC headquarters

Once confirmed, he will replace current chair David Clementi.

Former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp is the U.K. government's candidate to become the new chairman of the public broadcaster BBC's board.

The 64-year-old was unveiled late Wednesday as the pick of Boris Johnson's conservative government by culture secretary Oliver Dowden. The official appointment must still be made by Queen Elizabeth II after a parliamentary hearing, but that is usually just a technical hurdle.

Sharp, a donor to the ruling Conservative Party with a track record of an interest in the broader cultural space, will succeed David Clementi, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England and chairman of Prudential and Virgin Money.

The former chair of the Royal Academy of Arts "with a background in finance and public service has been selected following an open and rigorous competition," the government said. "He will bring his extensive experience in global commerce, the creative industries, and in public service to lead the BBC board, supporting the director general (Tim Davie) to deliver the BBC’s mission and public purposes in the fast-changing media landscape."

Sharp, who currently also serves as a special economic advisor to the U.K. Treasury department on "national financial issues arising from the current (coronavirus) pandemic," will appear before the London parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee for pre-appointment scrutiny on Jan. 14 and is expected to take up the post at the end of Clementi’s term in February.

"Richard’s leadership in the top flight of finance and commerce, combined with his passion for culture and public service make him the ideal person for this hugely important role," Dowden said. "He is exactly the chair the BBC needs right now. I’m confident he will drive forward reforms to the BBC to ensure it impartially reflects and serves the needs of all parts of the U.K., and evolves to remain a global success that is central to British national life in the decades ahead."

Sharp said: "The BBC is at the heart of British cultural life, and I’m honored to be offered the chance to help guide it through the next chapter in its history."