After much speculation about who would replace outgoing BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland, the British government has appointed Gavyn Davies to the post. Davies, vice-chairman of the BBC since January 2001, beat out veteran journalist David Dimbleby and former C4 exec Michael Grade. The duration of his appointment is five years.
Acknowledging his successor’s achievement, Bland said, ‘[Davies'] appointment is significant because he is the first BBC chairman to be selected under the open process of Nolan rules by an independent panel, and not politicians. He was recommended unanimously by the panel to the Prime Minister and appointed by the Queen in Council.’
Some of the skills and qualities of the BBC chairman, as outlined by the department for culture, media and sport, are: sufficient influence, experience and weight to act as an effective bridge between the BBC and parliament; sensitivity to and ability to keep in touch with public opinion on broadcasting issues; and an ability to develop policies and strategies and to turn these into practical objectives which can be readily understood and taken forward. As chairman, Davies will receive £77,590 (US$114,000) per year, plus expenses.
Bland, who was BBC chairman from April 1996 to April 2001, resigned to become chairman of British Telecom.