Former Goldman Banker and Political Donor to Be Named BBC Chairman

by 24USATVJan. 6, 2021, 10 p.m. 23
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LONDON — Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker and adviser to the British government, is expected to be named the next chairman of the BBC, to lead the public broadcaster through a critical period as its purpose, funding and sustainability are reviewed.

Mr. Sharp will take the helm at the broadcaster amid long-running complaints by the governing Conservative Party over its coverage and the mandatory license fees paid by households to finance it. The BBC reported on Mr. Sharp’s appointment after an initial report by Sky News. An official announcement is expected in coming days.

The future of the annual license fee paid by listeners and viewers (157.50 pounds, or about $214) will be one of Mr. Sharp’s most pressing issues, as he takes on negotiations with the government about the size of the fee from 2022 to 2027.

He has not taken public stands on the fee or on how to ensure the broadcaster’s financial viability as more viewers turn to streaming services. But his connections to the party may help smooth the negotiating process. Mr. Sharp, 64, donated more than £400,000 ($542,000) to the Conservative Party between 2001 and 2010, according to public records.

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