Rishi Sunak’s former banker boss is set to be installed as chairman of the BBC.
Ex-Goldman Sachs banker and major Tory donor Richard Sharp is Boris Johnson ’s ‘preferred choice’ to replace Sir David Clementi, who will step down in February.
Mr Sharp, 64, has served as an unpaid advisor to the government on economic response to the Covid-19 crisis.
He’s also a major Tory donor, handing £400,000 to the party from 2001-10 and £4,600 since then.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said Mr Sharp was “exactly the Chair the BBC needs right now.”
The appointment comes amid a raging debate over the BBC licence fee and how the broadcaster is facing competition from streaming services.
Mr Dowden said: “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 UK, and evolves to remain a global success that is central to British national life in the decades ahead.”
Mr Sharp will rake in £160,000 for just three to four days work a week.
Under the terms of the BBC Royal Charter the appointment of the BBC Chair is made by The Queen, on recommendation from ministers.
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.”
Mr Sharp’s appointment was first reported by Sky News before the official announcement was made, sparking anger among Parliament’s media committee.
Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), said: “It is disappointing to see this news about the next BBC chairman has leaked out ahead of a formal announcement from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
“The committee previously expressed some concerns over the appointments process, calling for it to be fair and transparent.”
Mr Knight said the committee would be questioning the preferred candidate next week.
Names previously linked with the post include former chancellor George Osborne and ex-editor of the Daily Telegraph Charles Moore, who reportedly ruled himself out.