The BBC’s under-fire chairman Richard Sharp has resigned following a report that said he breached appointment rules by not fully discovering his role in a loan given to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Sharp had faced months of pressure to quit and created a serious headache for the broadcaster after it emerged that, prior to his appointment, he had helped Johnson — who was involved in his selection process — access to a loan facility reportedly worth around $1 million. This story would gather steam following the BBC’s handling of the impartiality row over Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, when major question marks over the government influence over the BBC were raised, particularly surrounding Sharp, a former banker who had worked with current prime minister Rishi Sunak at Goldman Sachs and previously donated more than £400,000 ($486,000) to the Conservative Party.
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The chairman’s resignation comes a month after the former BBC director-general John Birt claimed that his appointment should not have stood because he as an “unsuitable candidate” in a “fatally flawed” process.
In a statement, Sharp said that barrister who led the inquiry into his appointment had found that “while I did breach the governance code for public appointments, he states that a breach does not necessarily invalidate an appointment,” adding that he had always maintained that “the breach was inadvertent and not material.”
However, he said he was resigning to “prioritise the interests of the BBC.”
Sharp is set to remain as chairman until the end of June, when the process to appoint his success will begin.
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