Conservative peer Michael Grade named as next chairman of Ofcom

The selection process to find a suitable candidate has been repeatedly delayed.

Alex Green
Thursday 24 March 2022 17:23
Lord Grade (Peter Byrne/PA)
Lord Grade (Peter Byrne/PA)

Media executive and Conservative peer Michael Grade has been named as the next chairman of Ofcom, the PA news agency understands.

The 79-year-old, who has held senior positions at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, will face MPs during a pre-appointment hearing before the selection draws to a close.

The process to find a suitable candidate to chair the watchdog, which oversees broadcasting and telecommunications in the UK, has faced a series of delays since it began two years ago.

(Yui Mok/PA)

It was rerun after an initial round of interviews failed to find a candidate.

During his career, Lord Grade has served as controller of BBC One, chief executive of Channel 4, chairman of the BBC and executive chairman of ITV plc.

He currently sits as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords after being appointed by David Cameron in 2010.

The former media executive has spoken in favour of the privatisation of Channel 4 and recently criticised the BBC’s coverage of events such as the Downing Street parties as “gleeful and disrespectful”.

In January, ministers announced they were reopening the recruitment process for the £142,500 three-day-a-week Ofcom job, and extending the application deadline after a “favourite” to fill the position walked away.

Former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was reportedly Boris Johnson’s preferred choice during the initial interviews but he withdrew from the race, claiming the civil service had influenced the process because of his right-of-centre “convictions”.

Lord Gilbert of Panteg, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and life peer, and Lord Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, were both also reportedly in the running for the role.

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