BBC Sharp practice not good enough
February 14, 2023
Richard Sharp, the current Chair of the BBC, may have been an outstanding banker. He worked for both JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs and, presumably, made them a lot of money, certainly made himself rich. Is that the definition of a good banker? Did he do it more outstandingly than any of the other individuals who glide into such positions on a conveyor belt of unearned privilege? No idea.
Anyway, this son of a Baron, advised Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London and, like a lot of that circle, ended up working in Downing Street during BJ’s lamented tenure there. He has also been a significant financial donor to the Tory Party.
The two paragraphs above are the biography that, apparently, more than qualified Sharp as chair of the BBC. Or, rather, it did so in the eyes of those that count, most particularly the PM, who gets the final say.
Of course, there is one more note that should be added to Sharp’s CV. He’s a fixer. Specifically, he fixed a meeting that led to another rich man providing the hapless and broke BJ, who has been consistently incapable of running his own finances, with a credit note for £800,000. We’ve all been there.
Two things seem obvious, at least to me, from the above:
Sharp should resign immediately. He isn’t qualified in any positive way to be Chair. He is disqualified by his failure to disclose his cashflow fixing when he applied for the job. Even the Conservative members of the DCMS committee agree with this. Sharp is, at best, an embarrassing distraction for the BBC, at worst an affront to its integrity at home and abroad.
Second, the way the BBC Chair is appointed must become a less political and more pluralistic and transparent process. The BBC faces many challenges; the last thing it needs is overtly political appointments without any prior experience that can be of any help.