UK government appoints new Ofcom chairman

The UK government has appointed former Channel 4 chairman, Terry Burns, as the new chairman of broadcast regulator Ofcom.

Terry Burns

Terry Burns

Burns is due to take up the four-year post on January 1, 2018, taking over from outgoing chair Patricia Hodgson.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley confirmed the appointment and said: “I would like to thank Dame Patricia Hodgson for her many years of service and welcome Lord Burns as the new Ofcom chair.”

“The UK has a thriving telecommunications industry and a dynamic media landscape, and Lord Burns’ roles at Channel 4 and in government means he brings with him a wealth of expertise and experience to this vital role.”

Burns, who sits as a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords, was at Channel 4 for six years before leaving in January 2016. From 2004 to 2006 he was Independent adviser to the secretary of state on the BBC Charter Review.

He has also served as chairman of a number of private and public-sector organisations, including Marks & Spencer, Santander UK, Welsh Water, the National Lottery Commission and The Royal Academy of Music.

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to take on this role at an important time for Ofcom,” said Burns. “UK communications sector provides essential services to everyone in the UK and is critical to the future success of the economy.”

Ofcom CEO Sharon White said: “Lord Burns brings with him a wealth of experience and I am looking forward to working together as we deliver on Ofcom’s priorities.

“I am incredibly grateful to Dame Patricia Hodgson, who has provided expert stewardship to Ofcom as Chairman and Deputy Chairman over the past six years. Colleagues across Ofcom thank her for the contribution she’s made.”

The news comes in the same week that Ofcom named four new non-executive directors for public broadcaster Channel 4 – Althea Efunshile, Uzma Hasan, Fru Hazlitt and Tom Hooper.