Sharon White Named CEO of U.K. Media Regulator Ofcom

Tony Blair

"You were dealing with very powerful people who had a big impact on the political system. If they were against you, they were absolutely all-out against you."

She succeeds Ed Richards, who is leaving after eight years in the job

U.K. media and communications regulator Ofcom has appointed Sharon White as its new CEO.

She will replace Ed Richards, who announced his resignation at the end of the year after eight years in the job, and will join Ofcom in late March from the British tax authority, where she is currently second permanent secretary.

White will become the first black woman to lead the U.K. media industry regulator, The Guardian reported. Her annual salary will be $393,000 (£275,000), the organization said.

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Among key regulatory issues that she will have to deal with are a probe of the auction process for English soccer TV rights and a push by ITV for retransmission fees.

White has spent 25 years in the public and policy sectors, including a stint in the British embassy in Washington D.C., work at the World Bank and as a member of the policy unit of Tony Blair’s Labour Party government.

In her current role, which she has held since late 2013, she is the lead official responsible for managing the U.K.'s public finances.

Said Ofcom chair Patricia Hodgson: "Sharon brings with her an outstanding combination of intellect, political acumen and experience leading complex public organizations. The Ofcom Board is confident that Sharon will provide the leadership and vision to ensure Ofcom continues to promote a thriving communications sector in the U.K. that operates in the public interest."

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Said White: "The communications sector is vital to the economy and delivers essential services to everyone in the U.K. I look forward to starting in this fascinating job and building on Ofcom's considerable track record."

Steve Unger, director of Ofcom's Strategy, International, Technology and Economist Group, will become acting CEO to cover the period between Richards' departure and White's arrival.

Twitter: @georgszalai