BBC chair Richard Sharp has resigned from his role, following a report into his appointment and his involvement in securing a loan for Boris Johnson.
Speaking about his decision, Sharp said: “I feel that this matter will be a distraction from the BBC’s good work if I were to remain in post until the end of my term, I have therefore this morning resigned as the BBC chair to the secretary of state and the board.”
He added: “Being the chairman of the BBC has been an enormous privilege. It is an incredible organisation which has never mattered more than it does today, at home in the UK and around the world. I am very proud to have worked with the uniquely talented teams across the BBC. They are the best at what they do and I shall always be their champion.”
The board said it has accepted Sharp’s resignation, but has asked him to remain in post until the end of June while the process to appoint his successor is undertaken.
In a statement, Tim Davie, the director-general of the BBC, said: “On behalf of the BBC Executive, I would like to thank Richard for his service to the BBC and the drive and intellect he brought to his time as Chairman. Working with him over the last two years has been rewarding and Richard has made a significant contribution to the transformation and success of the BBC.
“The focus for all of us at the BBC is continuing the hard work to ensure we deliver for audiences, both now and in the future.”
Sharp had been under increasing pressure over his role in helping to arrange a guarantor on a loan of up to £800,000 for former prime minister Boris Johnson in late 2020 before being appointed to the role of BBC chair.
This morning, the commissioner for public accounts published a report by Adam Hepinstall KC into Sharp’s appointment.
It states that there is “a risk of a perception that Mr Sharp was recommended for appointment because he assisted (to the very limited extent of attempting to make the introduction to the cabinet secretary) the former Prime Minister in a private financial matter, and/or that he influenced the former prime minister to recommend him by informing him of his application before he submitted it”.
Hepinstall adds that he makes no findings about whether Sharp had any intention of seeking to influence Johnson in this manner. “I cannot and do not judge his independence in office,” he added.
The full report is available to read here.