Conservative peer Michael Grade has been announced as Ofcom’s next chairman

Media chief and Conservative peer Michael Grade has been announced as Ofcom’s next chairman.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries named the 79-year-old, who has held senior positions at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, as the government’s preferred candidate for the role.

The process of finding a suitable candidate to chair the UK broadcasting and telecoms regulator has faced a number of delays since it began two years ago.

Lord Grade will now appear before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee during a pre-appointment hearing.

He said: “Ofcom is respected around the world as a world-class communications regulator, so I feel privileged to be asked to become its Chair.

“Ofcom’s role 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 appearing before the DCMS Select Committee to share what I can bring to this role and how I can help ensure Ofcom is fit for the future.”

Ms Dorries said: “I am pleased to report that Lord Grade is the Government’s preferred candidate for the post of the new Chair of Ofcom.

“Lord Grade’s senior-level experience with a range of broadcasters and his expert knowledge of the UK media landscape make him an ideal candidate for this position.

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“Ofcom has an even more important role to play as the UK communications regulator.

“The introduction of the Online Safety Bill will give him new responsibilities and resources to ensure digital platforms take action against illegal and abusive material online.

“I am confident that, under the leadership of Lord Grade, Ofcom will meet this challenge with great success.”


Minister of Culture Nadine Dorries (James Manning/PA)

During his career, Lord has been Grade Controller of BBC One, Chief Executive of Channel 4, Chairman of the BBC and Executive Chairman of ITV plc.

He currently sits as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords, having been appointed by David Cameron in 2011.

If he is appointed Ofcom chairman he will move to the cross-banks and relinquish any non-executive roles that may create a conflict of interest.

The former media executive has spoken out in favor of the privatization of Channel 4 and recently criticized the BBC’s coverage of events such as the Downing Street parties as “malicious and disrespectful”.

In January, ministers announced they were reopening the recruitment process for the £142,500 offcom job for three days a week and extending the application deadline after a “favourite” to fill the position left.

Former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was reportedly Boris Johnson’s preferred choice during the early interviews, but he pulled out of the running, claiming the civil service dismissed the process because of its “right-of-the-centre” ” beliefs”.

Lord Gilbert of Panteg, former Conservative Party vice-chairman and partner, and Lord Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, were also reportedly in contention for the role.

The appointment is for a four-year term, with Lord Grade taking over from interim chair Maggie Carver. Conservative peer Michael Grade has been announced as Ofcom’s next chairman

Fry Electronics Team

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