Advanced Television

BBC Trust Chair hunt under way

May 30, 2014

By Colin Mann

Amidst considerable media speculation as to the identity of the next Chair of the BBC Trust following the resignation of Lord Patten early May on health grounds, the formal appointment process has only just been announced.

The position has been advertised publicly and interested individuals can now submit applications.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, announcing the start of the process, said the BBC was a great British institution that entertains and educates while helping to showcase the best of British around the world. “We need an exceptional individual to lead the Trust to get the best out of the BBC for licence fee payers,” he stated.

Applications must be submitted by June 20th.

A shortlist of candidates will be interviewed over the summer and the Culture Secretary will meet all appointable candidates.  The Government will then select a preferred candidate.

The preferred candidate will appear before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny and the Government will then make its final decision.

The Chair will be paid £110,000 a year for three to four days per week, the same as Lord Patten received.  The Chair will be appointed for a term of four years.

The DCMS suggests that the key priority facing the new Chair will be reviewing the BBC Charter, which expires at the end of 2016. The Government will not begin Charter review in this parliament. The appointment process will be overseen by an independent Public Appointments Assessor, who will ensure the appointment complies with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
Recent speculation suggests that Lord Coe, the former Olympic medallist and 2012 London games supremo had been approached by the government to take on the role.

Among other potential candidates tipped at the time of Patten’s resignation is former Sony Chairman Sir Howard Stringer, himself a one-time candidate for the post of Director General of the BBC in 2004. He was appointed as a BBC non-executive director in December. Others rumoured to be in the frame include Dame Marjorie Scardino, the former chief executive of Pearson; Channel 4′s chairman, Lord Burns; Sir Richard Lambert, the former head of the CBI and a former editor of the Financial Times; and Lord Myners, the former City minister who recently resigned his board role at the Co-operative Group.

Vice Chairman Diane Coyle, who will continue as Acting Chairman until a successor is appointed, is another possibility. Coyle is the wife of BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, and was formerly the Economics Editor of The Independent and an advisor to the Treasury.

Another strong potential candidate is Dame Patricia Hodgson, current Chairman of Ofcom, who was appointed for a three-year term from April 2014. She was Director of Policy and Planning at the BBC from 1993 to 2000, where she was responsible for Charter and licence renegotiations and for project managing the BBC’s switch to digital. From 2000 to the end of 2003, she was Chief Executive of the Independent Television Commission.

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, FTA, People