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BBC: Chairman

Volume 691: debated on Monday 16 April 2007

My Lords, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to announce formally the appointment of Sir Michael Lyons as the new chairman of the BBC. Her Majesty the Queen approved his appointment in Council on 4 April and it will take effect from 1 May for a period of four years. Sir Michael brings a very wide range of experience and skills to the task of leading the BBC Trust in its role of representing the interests of licence fee payers, and in holding to account the Executive Board, which is responsible for the day-to-day management of the BBC. He and his colleagues on the trust have a unique part to play in the future of public service broadcasting through their continued delivery of the new model of governance at the BBC and I am confident that, in Sir Michael, the BBC will have a chairman of whom it can be proud.

The process by which Sir Michael was appointed followed the guidance of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA), and was scrutinised by an OCPA independent assessor throughout. The post was advertised in the national press and on the DCMS and Cabinet Office websites, shortlisted candidates were interviewed by a selection panel that made recommendations to DCMS Ministers, who then made recommendations to the Queen through the Prime Minister. I am delighted that this rigorous open competition has resulted in the appointment of a very able and enthusiastic chairman who will help to ensure the BBC continues to thrive and adapt to new challenges in a changing environment.

I should also take this opportunity to express my tremendous gratitude to Dr Chitra Bharucha, who has, as acting chairman of the BBC, successfully overseen the launch of the new trust. She will continue to support the trust and its new chairman in her capacity as vice-chairman.