Monday 5 October 2020 10:39 am

Former No 10 spin doctor Sir Robbie Gibb tipped for BBC chairman role

Former Downing Street spin doctor Sir Robbie Gibb is said to have taken pole position in the race to become the next chairman of the BBC.

Gibb, who served as Theresa May’s communications director and formerly headed up the BBC’s political output, was being lined up for a non-executive position on the broadcaster’s board.

Read more: New BBC boss Tim Davie ‘prepared to fire stars’ who break impartiality rules

But he is now being encouraged to apply for the top job after veteran journalist Charles Moore withdrew from the race, the Telegraph reported.

The BBC has kicked off the search for a new chairman to replace Sir David Clementi, who is set to step down in February.

The appointment is expected to be a political one as Clementi’s successor will oversee the corporation at a crucial juncture amid speculation over the future of the licence fee funding model.

Earlier this month it emerged that Moore, a columnist and former Daily Telegraph editor, was the frontrunner for the role. However, he has since pulled out of the race due to personal reasons.

Gibb, whose brother is schools minister Nick Gibb, would be seen as a strong candidate for the role due to his experience both at the BBC and inside No 10.

The comms expert would be an ally to new director general Tim Davie, but would be expected to take on a reforming role.

Last month Gibb said he was “delighted” that Davie had made a commitment to impartiality his number one priority at the public service broadcaster.

Gibb, who was previously linked to the upcoming launch of US-style TV news channel GB News, declined to comment on his links to the BBC chairman role.

Read more: Andrew Neil to leave BBC and lead new UK TV news channel

Other high-profile names linked to the position include former equality watchdog chief Trevor Phillips and current ITV chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette.

The government is expected to publish a formal job advert in the coming weeks.