Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

Sharon White appointed as chief executive of Ofcom

2014-12-19 00:09:43

Sharon White
Sharon White. Photograph: Treasury

Ofcom has appointed Sharon White, a senior Treasury official overseeing the UK's spending cuts, as its new chief executive.

The appointment of White, who will become the first black woman to lead the media industry regulator when she takes charge in March, was approved by the culture secretary, Sajid Javid.

Waiting in White's inbox will be the inquiry into the auction process for Premier League broadcasting rights and a market-impact assessment into the proposed closure of BBC3.

Ed Richards
Ed Richards announced he was to leave Ofcom
earlier this year. Photograph: Frank Baron

Well-regarded for her economic nous, White's impressive CV covers 25 years in the public sector and government, including spells in the British embassy in Washington DC, at the World Bank and as director general in the Department for International Development. She also spent time in the No 10 policy unit during Tony Blair's Labour administration.

White will leave her current post as second permanent secretary at the Treasury in March, replacing Ed Richards, who spent 11 years at Ofcom, including seven as chief executive. <ahref="" data-link-name="in body link" data-component="in-body-link" target="_blank">Steve Unger will be Ofcom's interim chief executive until White arrives.

Ofcom's chairman, Patricia Hodgson, said: "Sharon brings with her an outstanding combination of intellect, political acumen and experience leading complex public organisations.

"The Ofcom board is confident that Sharon will provide the leadership and vision to ensure Ofcom continues to promote a thriving communications sector in the UK that operates in the public interest."

White said: "The communications sector is vital to the economy and delivers essential services to everyone in the UK. I look forward to starting in this fascinating job and building on Ofcom’s considerable track record."

Ofcom has one of the widest remits of any UK regulator, overseeing broadcasting, fixed line and mobile telecommunications and postal services.

White, who is married to Robert Chote, the chair of the <ahref="" data-link-name="auto-linked-tag" data-component="auto-linked-tag" target="_blank">Office for Budget Responsibility, conducted a review of the department’s response to the post-2007 financial crisis and took taking charge of public spending.

When <ahref="" data-link-name="in body link" data-component="in-body-link" target="_blank">Lord Richard Best was head of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation he appointed White to lead a project, saying she was smart and intensely aware of issues around social justice.

Sharon's salary will be £275,000 per annum, more than Javid, the culture minister.

Rona Fairhead, appointed as the first woman to lead the BBC Trust earlier this year, earns £110,000 for a three-day week.

Bob Wootton, director of media and advertising at the ISBA, the advertisers' industry body, said: "Sharon's experience so far gives us great hope that she will continue the successes of her predecessor Ed Richards. With ever more interesting and challenging times ahead, she has no doubt big boots to fill to maintain the high standard that has been fostered at the evidence-based regulator with added proportionate responses."


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