Lord Grade, who played a key role in the BBC’s move to MediaCityUK, is to become the new chair of media regulator, Ofcom.
The process to succeed Lord Burns has taken 2 years so far, with Paul Dacre, Ed Vaizey and Stephen Gilbert having also been in the frame.
His appointment to the 3-day-a-week £142,500 job, comes as question marks still remain over Channel 4’s future and the BBC licence fee.
Lord Grade has previously stated that the BBC licence fee was “too much money” and suggested that entire channels should be closed. He’s also supported the privatisation of Channel 4.
Ofcom will also play a major role in the government’s introduction of its Online safety Bill.
“Ofcom is respected across the globe as a first rate communications regulator so I am privileged to be asked to become its chair. The role of Ofcom in British life has never been more important with new responsibilities on the horizon regulating online safety, on top of the ever changing broadcasting landscape,” he said.
“I look forward to my appearance in front of the DCMS Select Committee to outline what I can bring to this role and how I can help ensure Ofcom is fit for the future.”
Lord Grade, who was a non-executive director of marketing company WRG, was BBC Chairman at the time of the BBC Licence Fee negotiations which ultimately led to the BBC establishing a base in Salford.
Looking back at the move he stated:
“I’m really proud I was involved. We had our critics. We still do. But, you know something? They were wrong.”
He left the BBC after 2 years, in 2006, to take up the role of ITV Executive Chairman.
He has also been a non-executive Chairman of Pinewood and Shepperton Film Studios; Talent Bank and Storyfirst. He also sits on the advisory board of Miroma SET.
“I am delighted to announce that Lord Grade is the Government’s preferred candidate to be the new chair of Ofcom. Lord Grade’s experience at the highest level of a number of broadcasters and his expert knowledge of the British media landscape makes him an ideal candidate for this role,” stated Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.
“Going forward, Ofcom has an even more important role to play as the UK’s communications regulator. The introduction of the Online Safety Bill will give it new responsibilities and resources to ensure digital platforms tackle illegal and abusive material online. I am confident that under Lord Grade’s leadership Ofcom will rise to the challenge with great success.”
Before his appointment is confirmed, Lord Grade will attend a pre-appointment hearing at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
The Conservative peer will move to the cross benches if the appointment goes ahead.
Maggie Carver will continue as Ofcom’s interim chair in the meantime.