Former UK chancellor George Osborne linked to BBC chairman job

Suban Abdulla
·3 min read
George Osborne spent three years as the editor in chief of the Evening Standard. Photo: Niklas Halle'n/AFP via Getty
George Osborne spent three years as the editor in chief of the Evening Standard. Photo: Niklas Halle'n/AFP via Getty

The UK’s former chancellor, George Osborne is being touted for one of the most prestigious British broadcasting jobs in the country.

Osbourne is being lined up for the next chairman at the BBC after the government increased the salary for the part-time role to £160,000 ($207,000) a year, to encourage a variety of applicants.

The former Conservative MP is being encouraged to apply for the role, according to the Telegraph.

While Osbourne is no stranger to a media role, having been at the helps for three years, he stepped down in June as the editor in chief of the Evening Standard. It’s thought he hasn’t been approached for the role yet.

The BBC declined to comment.

The current chairman David Clementi is due to step down in February when his term ends. Clementi oversaw the appointment of Tim Davie on 1 September as the broadcaster’s new director general.

Other names which have been linked for the top job include, former Question Time host David Dimbleby, Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the equalities watchdog, former culture secretary Lady Nicky Morgan, and Robbie Gibb — a former head of the Downing Street press office.

READ MORE: UK government defends trade role for controversial ex-Australian prime minister

Earlier this month, former Telegraph editor, Charles Moore ruled himself out for the job. He is understood to have stepped back amid family health problems despite claims he was Downing Street’s top choice.

Since being linked with the job Moore’s controversial articles on race and Islam have come under renewed scrutiny.

At the time reports, claimed that Moore — who was once fined for refusing to pay his television licence fee in protest at the BBC’s content — would have wanted substantially more than the current £100,000 licence fee-funded salary.

The BBC job advert said the government is looking for "an outstanding individual with demonstrable leadership skills and a passion for the media and public broadcasting, to represent the public interest in the BBC and maintain the Corporation’s independence.”

Applications are due to close on 11 November and a shortlist will be drawn up on November 16. Final interviews will be held late November or early December, with the successful candidate taking up their post in February 2021.

It is not the first time however that considerations for influential roles in the UK have been criticised.

In September, health secretary Matt Hancock defended plans to give Australia’s controversial former prime minister Tony Abbott a trade role in the British government.

When Sky News presenter Kay Burley pressed Hancock in a TV interview over whether it was right to appoint an alleged “homophobic misogynist” to a senior role.

Hancock replied: “I don’t think that’s true. He’s also an expert in trade.”

Watch: Tony Abbott: Minister defends former Australian PM's UK trade role - but 'doesn't agree' with climate comments