British television executive Samir Shah has been chosen as the government’s preferred candidate to chair the BBC, culture minister Lucy Frazer said last week. Dr. Samir Shah, an India-born media executive with over 40 years of experience in UK broadcasting, has been named as the UK government’s preferred choice for the position of the new British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) chair.
The 71-year-old, honored with a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2019 for contributions to television and heritage, is set to succeed Richard Sharp. Sharp resigned following scrutiny of his communications with former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
With a career spanning over four decades, Shah serves as the CEO and owner of Juniper, an independent television and radio production company. Previously, he held the position of head of current affairs and political programs at the BBC. In 2022, he received the Royal Television Society’s top honor, the Outstanding Contribution (Lifetime Achievement) award for journalism.
Shah has held roles as a non-executive director of the BBC, chair of the Museum of the Home (2014-2022), and trustee and deputy chair of the V&A (2004-2014). He also chaired the Runnymede Trust and currently serves as chair of One World Media. Additionally, Shah is a member of the Arts and Media Honors Committee.
“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,” he said.
Shah is scheduled to undergo pre-appointment scrutiny before the Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee of Members of Parliament.
“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,” Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said.
The BBC is funded by a licence fee paid by TV-watching households and is politically independent, but its chair is appointed by the government. Shah, who was born in India and has worked in broadcasting for over four decades, will be questioned by a parliamentary committee of lawmakers before he is formally appointed.