George Osborne touted as potential candidate BBC chairman

George Osborne touted as potential candidate for £160,000 job as BBC chairman to combat broadcaster’s ‘left-wing bias’

  • George Osborne urged to apply for BBC chairman role, according to reports 
  • Mr Osborne this year missed out on position as chairman of Royal Opera House
  • Comes after Charles Moore of Etchingham pulled out of race on ‘personal grounds’

George Osborne is the latest name to be linked to the next £160,000 BBC chairman role, according to reports.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, who earlier this year missed out on a position as chairman of the Royal Opera House, is being urged to apply for the role, according to The Daily Telegraph.

It comes after the leading contender for the new role Lord Charles Moore of Etchingham pulled out of the race on ‘personal’ grounds, sparking a new hunt for the top spot.  

George Osborne is being urged to apply for the role of BBC chairman, according to reports

George Osborne is being urged to apply for the role of BBC chairman, according to reports 

The chairman’s role, which was advertised by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), will involve maintaining the broadcaster’s independence and overseeing the functioning of the organisation. 

Contenders for the role of BBC chairman

While Mr Osborne is yet to be approached for the role it is understood the Prime Minister would like a Tory to take on the role to combat the broadcaster’s left-wing bias. 

Earlier this week, Lord Moore, who previously worked as the editor of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and was Boris Johnson’s top choice for the role, cited family reasons for his choice to back out of the race. 

Moore, who is known for being an outspoken critic of the BBC, would have had to have been paid at least £280,000 for taking on the role, sources told The Times. 

Just a week later veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby said he was considering throwing his hat in the ring.

He told the BBC’s Newscast podcast: ‘I still might [apply], depending on who comes forward. Boris Johnson, we know, wants to bring the BBC to heel. We don’t want a chairman who connives in that ambition.’ 

When asked why he opposed Lord Moore’s appointment, he said: ‘I was horrified…not because of his political views, but because he hates the BBC.’ 

Other contenders for the role include the former head of communications at No 10 Sir Robbie Gibb, former culture secretary Nicky Morgan and the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips.   

The current BBC chairman David Clementi is to step down in February.

Mr Osborne, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2010 until 2016, began his career working for the family firm Osborne & Little before making his way into politics.

He then worked as Political Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition before being elected to Parliament as the youngest Conservative MP in the House of Commons.

In 2005, at the age of 33, he was appointed to the position of Shadow Chancellor before going on to successfully run David Cameron’s campaign to become Leader of the Conservative Party.

Speculation surrounding Mr Osborner’s appointment come just months after he missed out on a position as chairman of the Royal Opera House after a nominations committee selected the co-founder of Carphone Warehouse instead.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer was beaten by the UK-based entrepreneur David Ross, 55, after being shortlisted for the top position earlier this year.

The appointment came just months after the iconic arts venue in London’s Covent Garden announced it was facing increasing ‘financial pressure’ amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Insiders told The Sunday Times that Mr Ross, who would be succeeding the late Ian Taylor, was chosen for the prestigious role due to his track record in bringing in money from high-net worth individuals.

The businessman and arts philanthropist, who is best known for co-founding The Carphone Warehouse Group in 1991, is also the Chair of the Board at the National Portrait Gallery.  

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer’s other hats

  •  Advisor to investment management firm BlackRock (£650,000 a year for one day a week)
  • Works for Exor, a multi-million pound holding company which controls the Fiat car empire
  • Chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership
  • Fellow at US think tank the McCain Institute
  • Honorary professor of economics at the University of Manchester
  • Regular after-dinner speeches for the Washington Speakers Bureau (more than £500,000 a year)
  • Distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution


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