Former Goldman Sachs banker nominated for chairman of BBC

Richard Sharp takes up position during turbulent time for BBC

FILE PHOTO: People arrive and depart from Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC, in London Britain July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hackett/File Photo

The British government on Wednesday announced former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp as its nomination for next chairman of the BBC.

Sharp, also a former chairman of the Royal Academy of Arts, has a background in public service and was chosen after "an open and rigorous competition".

He is set to next month succeed David Clementi, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England, who took up the role in 2017.

"The BBC is at the heart of British cultural life and I'm honoured to be offered the chance to help guide it through the next chapter in its history," Mr Sharp said.

He takes up the post at a turbulent time for the BBC, which faces continued scrutiny over equal pay and diversity, and controversy over whether to reintroduce charges for elderly viewers.

Competition is fiercer than ever from streaming services such as Netflix.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden said Sharp's leadership in finance and commerce, and his "passion for culture and public service", made him the ideal candidate.

"He is exactly the chair the BBC needs right now," Dowden said.

"I'm confident he will drive forward reforms to the BBC to ensure it impartially reflects and serves the needs of all parts of the UK, and evolves to remain a global success that is central to British national life in the decades ahead."

Sharp will appear before legislators on the digital, culture, media and sport select committee next week for "pre-appointment scrutiny".

He will then be formally appointed to the role by Queen Elizabeth II, who chooses the chairman on the advice of ministers under the broadcaster's royal charter.