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Government names Richard Sharp as choice for new BBC chairman

The government announces that former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp is the preferred choice to take over as BBC chairman next month.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has named Richard Sharp as the government's preferred candidate for the role of BBC chairman.

The 64-year-old spent 23 years working at Goldman Sachs, where he was a one-time boss of chancellor Rishi Sunak, and has been serving as an unpaid advisor to the government during the coronavirus crisis.

Sharp is a known lover of the arts and is said to believe that the BBC needs some tough love as it looks to modernise in a broadcasting landscape that now includes streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon.

"Richard's leadership in the top flight of finance and commerce, combined with his passion for culture and public service make him the ideal person for this hugely important role," said Dowden.

"He is exactly the Chair the BBC needs right now. 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 added: "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."

Sharp will now face scrutiny from the DCMS select committee on January 14 ahead of his appointment, which will see him replace Sir David Clementi in the role next month.

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Baroness Nicky Morgan pictured on January 14, 2020
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