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Preferred BBC Trust Chair Candidate Announced

Rona Fairhead CBE is the Government’s preferred candidate for the BBC Trust Chairman, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced today.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The non-executive director of HSBC and PepsiCo has been selected as the Government’s preferred candidate following an open recruitment process, overseen by an independent Public Appointments Assessor.

She will now appear before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny on September 9.

Sajid Javid said:

Rona Fairhead is an exceptional individual with a highly impressive career history. Her experience of working with huge multinational corporations will undoubtedly be a real asset at the BBC Trust.

I have no doubt she will provide the strong leadership the position demands and will prove to be a worthy champion of licence fee payers.

I am sure that under Rona’s leadership the BBC will continue to play a central role in informing, educating and entertaining the nation.

Rona Fairhead said:

The BBC is a great British institution packed with talented people, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to be the Chairman of the BBC Trust.

I am under no illusions about the significance and the enormity of the job but I am excited to have the chance to lead the BBC through the coming years.

Lord Patten stood down as BBC Trust Chairman in May this year on health grounds after three years in the position.

Mrs Fairhead is a former Chairman and CEO of the Financial Times Group, and former non-executive director of the Economist Group.

She was a non-executive member of the board of the Cabinet Office, but stood down after being selected as the preferred candidate for the BBC Trust Chairman. She is also a British Business Ambassador.

The independent public appointments assessor, who has overseen the appointment process, has confirmed he is satisfied that this competition met the requirements of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies.

Under the terms of the BBC Royal Charter, appointment of the BBC Trust chair and members is made by HM The Queen on recommendation from Ministers (the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, through the Prime Minister).

Rona Fairhead Biography

Rona Fairhead CBE is an independent non-executive director of HSBC Holdings plc and non-executive chairman of HSBC North America Holdings Inc. She is also a non-executive director of PepsiCo Inc.

She served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Financial Times Group for seven years until 2013 and as non-executive director of The Economist Group from 2006 to 2014. She was an executive director of their owners, Pearson plc, from 2002 to 2013, serving as Pearson’s chief financial officer from 2002 to 2006. She was chairman of Interactive Data Corporation (an NYSE-listed company) from 2006 to 2010.

Prior to joining Pearson, Mrs Fairhead held a variety of leadership positions at Bombardier Inc., in the Aerospace division, and at Imperial Chemical Industries plc, a specialty chemicals company, where she ultimately served as executive vice president of strategy and group financial control.

Rona was awarded a CBE in 2012 and was appointed a British Business Ambassador in 2014. She was a non-executive member of the Cabinet Office board but stood down on being selected as the preferred candidate for the BBC Trust Chairman.

She has an MA in Law from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge where she is an Honorary Fellow and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Teesside University in 2010.

Published 31 August 2014