Former banker Richard Sharp to take over as BBC chairman

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Former banker Richard Sharp to take over as BBC chairman

Jewish ex-Goldman Sachs employee, who was once the boss of Chancellor Rishi Sunak, will take the helm at the national broadcaster

Richard Sharp, the former Goldman Sachs banker who will succeed Sir David Clementi as BBC chairman. (PA Media/Bank of England)
Richard Sharp, the former Goldman Sachs banker who will succeed Sir David Clementi as BBC chairman. (PA Media/Bank of England)

Former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp will succeed Sir David Clementi as BBC chairman, BBC News has said.

His appointment comes amid a debate about the BBC licence fee and how the broadcaster is facing competition from streaming services.

Mr Sharp, who was once Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s boss, will take over from Sir David, who will stand down in February, according to BBC media editor Amol Rajan.

Mr Sharp is the son of Lord Sharp of Grimsdyke, the former Eric Sharp, who was first knighted and then given a life peerage for his services as chair of the energy company, Cable and Wireless, between 1980 and 1990.

Eric Sharp married the former Marion Freedman in 1950 and the couple, who were members of Westminster Synagogue, had three children: Richard, Nicola, who died in 1982, and Victoria, who, as Dame Victoria Sharp, is president of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in England and Wales.

Richard Sharp married an American, also named Victoria, in 1987 in Connecticut. He has spent most of his career in banking, starting with the city banker JP Morgan, and then more than 20 years with the Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs, where he was boss to the future chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

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.

The new chairman will work closely with new director-general Tim Davie, who is the former chief executive of the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Studios.

He took over from Lord Tony Hall in September and said the corporation needs to keep reforming “with urgency” and stressed it must be “a universal public service”.

The broadcaster currently 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 ongoing coronavirus crisis.

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