Richard Sharp has said in an interview following his resignation as BBC chairman that the position is a “target” and whoever holds it is “vulnerable”.
The former Goldman Sachs banker left the role after a report found he breached the rules around public appointments following an introduction which led to then-prime minister Boris Johnson getting an £800,000 loan guarantee.
He has since been replaced by acting BBC chairwoman Dame Elan Closs Stephens, who started last month and will be in the interim position for 12 months or until a new permanent chairperson has been appointed.
Sharp told the Daily Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast: “When there was a Labour supporting chair, there’s a target. It’s a sufficiently important institution that who ever is the chair is vulnerable.”
He also said that he would tell someone going for the job to “make sure you and your family know what you’re getting into”.
Sharp said there had been an increase in “anger-tainment” which features “ad hominem attacks” to drive traffic to news websites.
The Conservative party donor also said he thinks the next chair of the BBC should not be disqualified for political connections or donations to a political party.
He added: “In the recruitment process, they need to assure themselves that the chairperson will take as a primary objective the strength of the BBC as an independent organisation and should behave in an impartial manner.”
Sharp, who was appointed in early 2021, announced he would step down as chair in April this year when he was over halfway into his four-year term.
He said at the time he had acted in “good faith” and had the “best of intentions” after an inquiry by barrister Adam Heppinstall KC.
The former BBC chairman said: “Mr Heppinstall’s view is that while I did breach the governance code for public appointments, he states very clearly that a breach does not necessarily invalidate an appointment.
“Indeed, I have always maintained the breach was inadvertent and not material, which the facts he lays out substantiate.”
Press Association – Charlotte McLaughlin