Dr Samir Shah CBE announced as preferred candidate for BBC Chair

Dr Samir Shah CBE announced as the preferred candidate for BBC Chair.

Dr Shah will now appear before MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny before taking on the £160,000 per annum job for 3 to 4 days per week.

He has worked in broadcasting for over forty years and is currently CEO and owner of Juniper, an independent television and radio production company.

Before Juniper, Samir was head of current affairs and political programmes at the BBC.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: With a career spanning more than 40 years in TV production and journalism, Dr Shah has a wealth of experience to bring to the position of BBC Chair. He has a clear ambition to see the BBC succeed in a rapidly changing media landscape, and I have no doubt he will provide the support and scrutiny that the BBC needs to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

“His knowledge of the BBC and his belief in its role as a national broadcaster alongside his extensive work to promote diversity in broadcasting will be invaluable in helping to ensure that the BBC reflects, represents and serves communities across the whole of the UK.

“I would also like to express my thanks to Dame Elan Closs Stephens for her diligence and dedication in leading the Board as Acting Chair in the interim period.”

Dr Samir Shah CBE said: “I am delighted to be named the preferred candidate for Chair of the BBC and I look forward to the upcoming pre-appointment hearing with the Select Committee. The BBC is, without doubt, one of the greatest contributions we have made to global culture and one of our strongest calling cards on soft power.

“If I am able to put what skills, experience, and understanding of public service broadcasting I have built up during my career to help this brilliant organisation meet the complex and diverse challenges it faces over the coming years, it would be an honour.

“The BBC has a great place in British life and a unique duty to reach a wide audience right across the country and I will do all I can to ensure it fulfils this in an increasingly competitive market.”

Samir was born in India and came to England in 1960. He is married to Belkis with one son, Cimran.

In 2022, the Royal Television Society awarded him its top honour: Outstanding Contribution (AKA Lifetime Achievement award) to journalism. Samir was a Non-Executive Director of the BBC (2007-2010), Chair of the Museum of the Home (2014-2022), and was a trustee then Deputy Chair of the V&A (2004-2014). He was Chair of the Runnymede Trust (1999-2009). He is currently Chair of One World Media. Samir sits on the Arts and Media Honours Committee.

Samir was appointed a CBE for services to Television and Heritage in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours. He was previously made an OBE in the 2000 New Year’s Honours List. Samir was elected a Fellow of the Royal Television Society in 2002. Samir was appointed Visiting Professor of Creative Media at Oxford University in 2019 and the University of Nottingham appointed him to a Special Professorship in the Department of Post Conflict Studies.

The current process for appointing the Chair is set in the BBC’s 2017 Royal Charter, requiring an appointment to be made by ‘Order in Council’ following a fair and open competition. Convention has been that the Secretary of State recommends the appointment to the Lord President of the Council and the Prime Minister recommends the appointment to His Majesty The King. No recommendation can be made to His Majesty in Council, until a pre-appointment hearing has been held and a report published by the CMS Select Committee.

Ministers were assisted in their decision-making by an Advisory Assessment Panel which included a departmental official and a senior independent panel member approved by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.