George Osborne and Nicky Morgan are out of BBC chairman race

George Osborne and Nicky Morgan rule themselves out of BBC chairman race after Rishi Sunak’s old Goldman Sachs boss was tipped for role

  • Richard Sharp is said to be Government’s choice to replace Sir David Clementi
  • Former culture secretary and former chancellor have both decided not to apply
  • It comes after Boris Johnson’s first choice Charles Moore decided to withdraw
  • Recruitment process began last week with salary hiked to £160,000 a year

Nicky Morgan and George Osborne have both turned down the chance to become the new BBC chairman – clearing the path for Rishi Sunak’s former boss to take over.

Richard Sharp, an ex-Tory donor who worked with the Chancellor at investment bank Goldman Sachs, is said to be the Government’s choice to replace Sir David Clementi.

Multimillionaire Mr Sharp is now the leading contender after former culture secretary Baroness Morgan and ex-chancellor Mr Osborne both decided not to apply. 

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first choice, former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, decided to withdraw from the process.


Former culture secretary Nicky Morgan (left, in January) and ex-chancellor George Osborne (right, last July) have both turned down the chance to become the new BBC chairman

Richard Sharp (above), an ex-Tory donor who was Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s boss at investment bank Goldman Sachs, is said to be the Government’s choice to become the new BBC chairman

Baroness Morgan formally told Downing Street that she did not want to enter the race, while Mr Osborne also decided not to apply, reported The Times. 

The recruitment process was kicked off last week with the salary for the role hiked from £100,000 a year to £160,000.

Mr Sharp was previously one of Mr Johnson’s economic advisers when he was the Mayor of London.

He was also a member of the financial policy committee at the Bank of England from 2013 to last year and spent more than 20 years at investment bank Goldman Sachs, leaving in 2007.

Other names linked to the role have included former Downing Street director of communications Sir Robbie Gibb. 

Baroness Morgan (left) and Mr Osborne (right, pictured in 2015) both ruled themselves out

The current holder of the post, Sir David Clementi, stands down from the role in February

But one senior broadcasting insider said last night that Mr Sharp was now the person that Downing Street wanted to do the job.

Richard Sharp: Former Tory donor who once advised Mayor Boris

Multimillionaire Richard Sharp is the Government’s preferred choice to replace Sir David Clementi in the role as BBC chairman.

He was the former boss of Chancellor Rishi Sunak at global investment bank Goldman Sachs, and previously one of Boris Johnson’s economic advisers when he was the Mayor of London.

The former Tory donor was also a member of the financial policy committee at the Bank of England from 2013 to last year and spent more than 20 years at Goldman Sachs, leaving in 2007.

Mr Sharp, 64, Mr Sharp took on an unpaid role near the start of the Covid-19 crisis advising the Treasury.

He is said to have been involved in setting up the £1.5billion rescue package for the arts as well as a £500million TV restart scheme to help cover insurance costs.

Mr Sunak worked for Mr Sharp at Goldman Sachs until the current chancellor left in 2004.

The source said: ‘That is now the Government’s preferred chairman. That’s who Johnson wants. He’s been vetted by Downing Street.

‘But they’ve got to go through the process, but he is now Downing Street’s preferred candidate.’ 

They said they expected the investment banker to get the job unless he decided, like Lord Moore, to pull out.

The insider added: ‘They can’t just give it to him. They’ve got to go through this process first of all.’

But it is thought the appointment will not be formally confirmed until after Christmas. They are not expected to announce their choice until December. 

However the preferred candidate would then have to appear before the digital, culture, media and sport committee for a pre-appointment hearing.

The current holder of the post, Sir David, stands down from the role in February.

Mr Sharp, 64, who has a much lower profile than many of the other names linked with the job, would appear to be a far less divisive figure within the BBC than Lord Moore, who has been a vehement critic of the corporation.

Mr Sharp took on an unpaid role near the start of the Covid-19 crisis advising the Treasury.

He is said to have been involved in setting up the £1.5billion rescue package for the arts as well as a £500million TV restart scheme to help cover insurance costs.

Mr Sunak worked for Mr Sharp at Goldman Sachs until the current chancellor left in 2004.

The Times yesterday quoted sources saying he would be a ‘tough friend’ to the BBC if he got the job.

The BBC chairman is technically appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of ministers.

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