Richard Sharp: Who oversees the BBC

Richard Sharp is visible in a publicity photo for handouts

Beginning in February 2021, Richard Sharp has presided over the BBC.

As chairman of the BBC's board, he is in charge of, among other things, ensuring that the BBC upholds and protects its independence and carries out its mission to inform, educate, and entertain.

The 66-year-old former banker makes £160,000 a year in his current position, which he previously promised to donate to charity.

However, his appointment has come under scrutiny recently following a Sunday Times report that claimed Mr. Sharp had aided Boris Johnson, the then-Prime Minister, in obtaining a loan guarantee agreement just before being hired. Both men deny that there was a conflict of interest, and Mr. Sharp claimed that he "simply connected" people.

Mr. Sharp spent a portion of his formative years in the US, where his father held executive positions with the telecommunications company Cable and Wireless and the chemical behemoth Monsanto.

Mr. Sharp studied PPE at Christ Church in Oxford, where he lived next door to journalist Adam Boulton. His 40-year career in finance began with a position at JP Morgan, and he later enjoyed a lengthy and illustrious tenure at the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

When a young Mark Carney, the future governor of the Bank of England, was a bank employee, he was a senior official there.

When Mr. Carney, as governor, warned about the potential economic risks of Brexit, this connection took on a certain poignancy. Mr. Sharp, who did not publicly support Brexit, disagreed with some of Mr. Carney's conclusions and believed that there were more opportunities outside of the EU.

Mr. Sharp eventually became the chairman of Goldman's Principal Investment in Europe. That is, assisting partners with their investments rather than engaging in trading.

A young man named Rishi Sunak was one of Mr. Sharp's closest friends at Goldman.

Mr. Sharp, a significant supporter of the Conservative Party and a member of the Centre for Policy Studies' board, said of Mr. Sunak that he was the best young financial analyst he had ever seen.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak
Sharp collaborated with Rishi Sunak while he was employed by Goldman Sachs.

When the pandemic first started, Mr. Sharp continued to work for his former mentor Mr. Sunak as chancellor, assisting the government by providing loans to businesses. According to BBC journalist Amol Rajan, Mr. Sunak was only mildly upset about parting ways with such a close ally at such a pivotal time but was persuaded of Mr. Sharp's advantages in accepting his new position at the BBC.

In a statement released after the Sunday Times published its article about his loan agreement, the former prime minister claimed that Mr. Sharp and he had known each other for almost 20 years.

Those who know Mr. Sharp believe that he is generally pro-Israel and that his heritage is Jewish. Victoria, his twin sister, is a senior judge. His first wife's name was Victoria. Another sister of Mr. Sharp passed away young from cancer.

Mr. Sharp was deeply affected by this and started supporting some of Maurice Saatchi's initiatives to advance cancer research and provide care for cancer patients.

As the former chairman of the Royal Academy and a longtime member of the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee, Mr. Sharp has a distinguished background in the arts.

Additionally, he has held positions on the boards of both public and private businesses in the US, the UK, Germany, and Denmark.

Mr. Sharp discussed the licence fee shortly after his appointment, calling it the "least bad" method of funding the BBC. However, Mr. Sharp told lawmakers that it "may be worthwhile reassessing" the current system and that he had an "open mind" about how the corporation should be funded going forward.

In addition to giving the Conservative Party about £400,000 over the past 20 years, Mr. Sharp claimed to be "considered to be a Brexiteer.".

And in response to the question "what's in it for you?" posed by the MPs, Mr. Sharp stated: "We are all products of our upbringing, and I was very fortunate to have the parents I do. My great grandparents came to this country in order to escape tyranny.

"I feel like being British is the life's lottery, and if I can help in any way, I'd be beyond happy to do so.

All of our national identities are woven together by the BBC, which also plays a crucial role in our standing in the international community while providing education and cultural enrichment. Being the BBC chairman is an enormous honor. ".

He has frequently defended the BBC during his time there and used his platform to stress the value of journalism while bemoaning the danger posed by disinformation.

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