Veteran TV executive Samir Shah who is the half brother of Radio 4 boss is set to become new BBC chairman after the resignation of ex Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp in April

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By Robert Fofana

  • BBC chairman role was vacated earlier this year by resignation of Richard Sharp 
  • He failed to declare his connection to an £800,000 loan made to Boris Johnson 

Veteran TV executive Samir Shah is poised to become the new BBC chairman with an announcement expected as soon as this afternoon.

The role was vacated earlier this year by Richard Sharp, who resigned in April after failing to declare his connection to an £800,000 loan made to Boris Johnson.

Former Goldman Sachs banker Mr Sharp was then replaced by Dame Elan Closs Stephens, who is the current acting BBC chairwoman.

Dr Shah – whose half brother is Mohit Bakaya, the controller of BBC Radio 4 – will be paid £160,000 a year for three to four days of work each week.

The 71-year-old is chief executive of award-winning production company Juniper TV, which makes a number of political and current affairs programmes. 

Veteran TV executive Samir Shah who is the half brother of Radio 4 boss is set to become new BBC chairman after the resignation of ex Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp in April

Veteran TV executive Samir Shah is poised to become the new BBC chairman

Dr Shah's half brother is Mohit Bakaya (pictured), the controller of BBC Radio 4

Dr Shah’s half brother is Mohit Bakaya (pictured), the controller of BBC Radio 4

He was previously the BBC’s head of television current affairs, and later ran the BBC’s political journalism department at Millbank.

Dr Shah also previously worked for London Weekend Television, a franchise in the ITV network.

The appointment, which is made by the Government, is expected to be announced as early as this afternoon, according to the Financial Times.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been contacted for comment.

Mr Sharp resigned as BBC chairman on April 28 after being found to have broken the rules by failing to disclose he played a role in getting Mr Johnson an £800,000 loan guarantee.

A review by Adam Heppinstall KC found the former Tory donor twice breached the code governing public appointments, risking the perception he was not independent from the then-prime minister.

Mr Sharp spared forcing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to decide on his fate by announcing he would stand down from the influential role overseeing the public broadcaster’s independence at the end of June.

The BBC chairman role was vacated earlier this year by Richard Sharp, who resigned in April

The BBC chairman role was vacated earlier this year by Richard Sharp, who resigned in April 

The barrister’s review said Mr Sharp risked a perception that he was recommended for the role because he assisted Mr Johnson ‘in a private financial matter’ ahead of his appointment in 2021.

Mr Heppinstall also said there was the risk it would be perceived that he influenced Mr Johnson to recommend him by notifying the former prime minister of his application before submitting it.

Failing to disclose both issues were found to have caused breaches of the governance code for public appointments.

In his resignation statement, Mr Sharp insisted that his breach of the rules was ‘inadvertent and not material’.

As for Dame Elan, she had been a member of the BBC’s governing body since 2010, serving then as the member for Wales when it was the BBC Trust.

She then continued as the Welsh member of the BBC Board and has been the chairwoman of the Wales committee, and from 2019 to 2022 also served as chairwoman of the BBC’s commercial subsidiary.

Mr Sharp was replaced by Dame Elan Closs Stephens, the current acting BBC chairwoman

Mr Sharp was replaced by Dame Elan Closs Stephens, the current acting BBC chairwoman

Dame Elan’s other work with broadcasters includes serving for two terms as chairwoman of Welsh-language broadcaster S4C between 1998 and 2006.

She still serves the BFI as a non-executive director of the Imax Cinema in Waterloo and is the pro-chancellor and professor emerita in communications and creative industries at Aberystwyth University.

Dame Elan is also the electoral commissioner for Wales and member of the UK Electoral Commission Board.

The native Welsh speaker who lives in Aberystwyth and has two children has also served as vice chairwoman of the Welsh Language Board.

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