UK watchdog to explore circumstances of BBC chairman’s appointment

An influential government watchdog is to scrutinise the process that led to the appointment of Richard Sharp as BBC chairman. Conservative party donor Sharp has been at the centre of an ongoing controversy following reports in The Sunday Times that he was involved in arranging a guarantor on a loan for former PM Boris Johnson in late 2020, before subsequently being recommended for the lucrative BBC post.

Richard Sharp

In response to questions in Parliament, William Shawcross, the commissioner for public appointments, said he would review the competition which led Sharp’s appointment while Johnson was prime minister. “The role of the commissioner is to oversee the public appointments process and ensure appointments are made fairly, openly and on merit. I intend to review this competition to assure myself and the public that the process was run in compliance with the government’s governance code.”

Sharp has insisted that there is no case to answer and pre-empted the news of the investigation by asking the BBC to review any potential conflicts of interest to ensure that all appropriate guidelines have been followed. “We have many challenges at the BBC and I know distractions such as this are not welcome,” he said in a statement.

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