The BBC has cleared the resigning Richard Sharp of any potential conflict of interest issues arising during his time as Chairman but has said he should have made “relevant declarations at the outset of his tenure.”
Sharp was found to have broken the BBC Board’s Code of Practice due to this failure to declare his role in the facilitation of a loan guarantee for Boris Johnson, a scandal that is seeing Sharp resign from his post due to a separate damning report from the UK’s Public Appointments Committee, which found he breached appointment rules.
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Today’s BBC Nominations Committee report didn’t examine Sharp’s controversial hire but only potential conflict of interest issues arising since he started in early 2021. The review was conducted by three non-executive members of the Board’s Nominations Committee, Sir Nick Serota, Dame Elan Closs Stephens and Shirley Garrood, who met four times between February and May.
“Based on the evidence they had reviewed, the Committee were content to confirm that they had no concerns in respect of the Chairman’s integrity,” said the report.
“The Committee were also content, based on the evidence, that all other aspects of the Code had been followed satisfactorily by the Chairman during his time in the role.”
The review noted that Sharp should have made “relevant declarations at the outset of his tenure” regarding his role in the facilitation of an £800,000 ($1B) loan guarantee for former Prime Minister Johnson via an associate, Sam Blyth. This failure to disclose has been the ultimate cause of Sharp’s resignation, and he will step down next month. The BBC said his failure to declare was not in line with its Board’s Code of Practice.
The BBC recommended that “greater attention be paid to the disclosure of relevant personal and professional interests at the start of [board] meetings.” Meanwhile, the BBC Board’s Code of Practice should be assessed to “make sure they were clear enough that personal and political as well as professional or pecuniary relationships should be considered for disclosure,” added the report.
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