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January 5, 2021 |

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BBC chairman named as ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp

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Richard Sharp

Former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp is to be named as the next chairman of UK pubcaster the BBC.

Sharp, who was the boss of the UK’s current chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak during his time at the bank, has served as an unpaid advisor to Sunak on the economic response to the pandemic.

He is expected to step away from these duties and take up his role at the BBC by the middle of next month, according to Sky News, which first reported the story.

Sharp will work closely with BBC director general Tim Davie and join the corporation at a time of increasing debate about its licence fee funding and as it faces growing competition from its commercial rivals.

In his new role, he will lead the BBC’s independent board, which decides the corporation’s overall direction, manages its performance and also oversees its complaints process. Sharp will also lead negotiations with the government over the future of the licence fee.

The position of BBC chairman is officially bestowed by the Queen on the recommendation of the UK government. Sharp’s appointment is expected to be formally confirmed later this week.

Sharp, who was also an adviser to UK prime minister Boris Johnson during his time as London mayor, had been widely considered to be a frontrunner for the position, which incumbent David Clementi will depart next month after announcing that he was stepping down in June 2020.

Sharp is a former chair of the Royal Academy of Arts Trust and also founded Kyra, a Gen-Z Youtube channel. He is also credited with playing a major role in creating the £1.5bn funding package last year to help sustain the arts through the pandemic.

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