BBC Names Elan Closs Stephens Acting Chair

Elan Closs Stephens has been named the acting chair of the BBC, replacing Richard Sharp who recently unveiled his resignation, effective June 27, following a report that said he had breached appointment rules by not fully disclosing his role in a loan given to former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

U.K. Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer unveiled the appointment of the interim chair Friday following a consultation with the BBC board.

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Under the BBC’s charter, an acting chair must be an existing non-executive director on the BBC board. “Dame Elan has been a non-executive director on the BBC board since July 2017, and prior to that was the trustee for Wales on the BBC Trust (2010-2017),” the BBC said Friday. “Between 2019 and 2022, she was chair of the Commercial Holdings Board for BBC Studios.”

Stephens called her appointment “a huge honor,” saying: “As a board, we will champion the license fee payer across all of the U.K., ensure the BBC is a vital partner for the U.K. creative industries, maintain trust, and drive change to make the BBC fit for a fast-changing media landscape. There is much work to be done.”

She will remain acting chair while the government goes through the process of appointing a new, permanent BBC chair, which is expected to take several months.

Stephens is “an experienced chair and non-executive, with a distinguished career in broadcasting, the creative industries and academia,” the BBC highlighted. “She is a former chair of the Welsh-language broadcaster S4C and is currently the pro-chancellor and professor emerita in communications and creative industries at Aberystwyth University.” She is also the electoral commissioner for Wales.

The BBC board noted: “Elan has been an active and distinguished member of the BBC board who has brought huge energy and drive to her role as (a) member for Wales. We are delighted that she is taking up the role as acting chair; she is the ideal choice.”

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