Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp who used to be Rishi Sunak’s boss will be next BBC chairman

Multi-millionaire ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp, who used to be Rishi Sunak‘s boss, will be the next BBC chairman, according to reports.

Mr Sharp is set to be announced for the £160,000-a-year role as early as Thursday, according to Sky News.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly signed off the selection for the ‘three or four day a week role’. The Queen will also have to sign-off on the appointment on the advice of Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Mr Dowden is likely to make the announcement of an appointment ‘in the next couple of days or early next week,’ Whitehall sources say.

Mr Sharp, a multi-millionaire who has appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List and is a long-term donor to the Conservative Party, will be grilled by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) next week if confirmed as the preferred candidate.

He will replace outgoing chairman Sir David Clementi – who has held the position since April 2017 and is due to step down in February.

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp who used to be Rishi Sunak's boss will be the next BBC chairman, according to reports

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp who used to be Rishi Sunak's boss will be the next BBC chairman, according to reports

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp who used to be Rishi Sunak’s boss will be the next BBC chairman, according to reports

Mr Sharp has spent much of the past year as an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (pictured), who he was once the boss of during his long career at Goldman Sachs

Mr Sharp has spent much of the past year as an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (pictured), who he was once the boss of during his long career at Goldman Sachs

Mr Sharp has spent much of the past year as an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (pictured), who he was once the boss of during his long career at Goldman Sachs

Mr Sharp spent much of the past year as an unpaid adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who he was once a superior of during his long career at Goldman Sachs.

The former Goldman Sachs boss set for the top job at the BBC’s governing body: Who is Richard Sharp? 

Richard Sharp will take over as chairman of the BBC during one of the most turbulent times in its history.

The 64-year-old former chairman of principal investment in Europe at financial services giant Goldman Sachs will replace Sir David Clementi when he stands down in February, according to reports.

He will work closely with new director-general Tim Davie as the corporation faces scrutiny over equal pay, diversity, free TV licences for the over-75s and competition from streaming services such as Netflix, as well as the coronavirus crisis.

The banker, who read philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford, has more than 30 years of experience in the financial sector, and spent 23 years at Goldman, where he reportedly mentored current Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Before this, he worked in both commercial and investment banking for JP Morgan.

Mr Sharp, a former chairman and an emeritus trustee of the Royal Academy, has reportedly been an informal adviser to Mr Sunak since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and played a key role in the creation of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

He was also a member of the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee from 2013 until 2019 and sits on the board of the Centre for Policy Studies, the think tank founded by Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s.

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The former investment banker, who is said to have amassed a fortune north of £100million during his career, also spent six years as a member of the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee before leaving the post last March. 

He was parachuted in to oversee the Chancellor’s Covid economic rescue package earlier this year.

The 64-year-old boasts ‘a reputation as a sharp, independent thinker and a safe pair of hands’, according to colleagues.

He reportedly donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Tory party at a fundraising dinner in 2013, though he is not thought to be a Conservative party member.

Alongside his financial work, Mr Sharp also has experience in the arts.

He chaired the Royal Academy of Arts Trust for several years and founded Kyra, a Gen-Z YouTube channel. 

Mr Sharp, who has not yet commented on the appointment, entered the race for the role earlier this year after former Chancellor George Osborne ruled himself out of the job.

Former Daily Telegraph editor, Lord Charles Moore of Etchingham, once considered the leading contender, also pulled out of the race on ‘personal’ grounds.

Veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby had reportedly considered throwing his hat in the ring.

According to reports earlier this year, Mr Johnson, with whom Mr Sharp is close having worked with him during his time as Mayor of London, is understood to be in favour of appointing a Tory-supporting chairman for the broadcaster.

Mr Johnson is reportedly said to want to stop what he believes is a growing left-wing bias at the corporation.

The job advert was posted online last year with an increased salary in a bid to attract a wider range of candidates.

The prestigious role will involve maintaining the broadcaster’s independence and overseeing the function of the organisation.   

Commenting on the reports, Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS): ‘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.

‘The DCMS committee looks forward to questioning the preferred candidate for the post in a pre-appointment hearing next week on their views at a critical time for the BBC about its role and the future of public service broadcasting more generally.’

The prestigious role will involve maintaining the broadcaster's independence and overseeing the function of the organisation

The prestigious role will involve maintaining the broadcaster's independence and overseeing the function of the organisation

The prestigious role will involve maintaining the broadcaster’s independence and overseeing the function of the organisation

Mr Sharp will replace Sir David Clementi - who has held the position since April 2017 and is due to step down in February

Mr Sharp will replace Sir David Clementi - who has held the position since April 2017 and is due to step down in February

Mr Sharp will replace Sir David Clementi – who has held the position since April 2017 and is due to step down in February

The appointed chairman of the BBC Board – the corporation’s governing body which meets at least 11 times a year – will work closely with recently appointed director-general Tim Davie.

Mr Davie has already launched a social media crackdown on BBC staff demanding they do not ‘express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or controversial subjects’.

He is also looking at new funding models for the corporation, amid speculation ministers could look to replace the traditional licence fee model in the future.  

The new appointment will be to replace current chairman Sir David Clementi, who is stepping down from the role in February.

Sir David was a British business executive and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England before taking on the BBC role.

He was preceded by Baroness Rona Alison Fairhead – a business chief who recently served as as Minister of State at the Department for International Trade.

She was the last Chairwoman of the previous governing body, the BBC Trust, before its abolition in 2017.

The Trust was replaced by current governing body, the BBC Board.

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