Tory donor in pole position to become next BBC chair after George Osborne drops out

BBC Broadcasting House in London. Picture date: Tuesday January 21, 2020. Photo credit should read:

Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker and boss to chancellor Rishi Sunak, could become the next chairman of the BBC - Credit: Ian West/PA

An adviser to Rishi Sunak and Tory donor is in pole position to be the next chair of the BBC after frontrunners George Osborne and Nicky Morgan ruled themselves out.

Richard Sharp, a multi-millionaire former Goldman Sachs investment banker is being tipped as Boris Johnson's favourite to take over at the national broadcaster, The Times has claimed.

Sharp, who was Sunak's former boss, donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Tory party at a 2013 fundraiser.

The former banker was brought into the Treasury earlier this year to assist the chancellor deliver his economy policies and has advised prime minister Boris Johnson.

Sharp is seen as an independent thinker and a "safe pair of hands" who could work alongside BBC Director-General Tim Davie.

News of Sharp's ascension comes after several top names pulled out of the race, including the former chancellor, Morgan - a former MP who was elevated to the House of Lords, and long-time BBC critic Charles Moore who withdrew for "personal reasons".

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Osborne is said to have withdrawn because the position would have inhibited his earnings potential and ability to comment on political controversies.

Labour's MP Beth Winter slammed the suggestion. She tweeted: "Richard Sharp is clearly not a suitable candidate as BBC Chair."

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Political affiliations is not a barrier to the role.

If Sharp is awarded the role, he will be expected to work three-to-four days a week and will receive a £160,000 salary.

Candidates have a month to apply for the role, with the final decision taken by culture secretary Oliver Dowden, subject to Downing Street approval.

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