Michael Grade is the government’s preferred candidate for the Ofcom chair, the culture secretary Nadine Dorries has announced. Lord Grade has had a long career in broadcasting, including stints at the BBC and ITV, as well as over nine years as chief executive of Channel Four Television.
In January 2011 he became the Conservative Peer, Lord Grade of Yarmouth. If he is appointed as Ofcom chair he will move to the cross-benches, as well as giving up any non-executive roles that could cause a conflict of interest in him becoming Ofcom chair.
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said, “I am delighted to announce that Lord Grade is the Government’s preferred candidate to be the new chair of Ofcom. Lord Grade’s experience at the highest level of a number of broadcasters and his expert knowledge of the British media landscape makes him an ideal candidate for this role.
“Going forward, Ofcom has an even more important role to play as the UK’s communications regulator. The introduction of the Online Safety Bill will give it new responsibilities and resources to ensure digital platforms tackle illegal and abusive material online. I am confident that under Lord Grade’s leadership Ofcom will rise to the challenge with great success.”
Lord Grade added, “Ofcom is respected across the globe as a first rate communications regulator so I am privileged to be asked to become its chair. The role of Ofcom in British life has never been more important with new responsibilities on the horizon regulating online safety, on top of the ever changing broadcasting landscape. I look forward to my appearance in front of the DCMS Select Committee to outline what I can bring to this role and how I can help ensure Ofcom is fit for the future.”
Under the terms of the legislation, the appointment is made by the Secretary of State. As such, Lord Grade will now appear before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny. That date has not yet been confirmed.