03:03 GMT24 January 2021
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    The banking doyen also served as now-Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak's superior during his tenure in Goldman Sachs. He has demonstrated his interest in culture this year with massive funding packages for the arts throughout the coronavirus crisis.

    Former Goldman Sachs banker and Tory donor Richard Sharp is the favourite to be appointed to the position of BBC Chairman, according to Reuters on Wednesday.

    Earlier the same day, Sky News reported that the ex-financial chief would be taking up the role prior to confirmation. Mr Sharp, who previously served as Rishi Sunak's boss during his time Goldman Sachs, had been working as the finance minister advisor during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    According to Sky, Sharp is likely to take up his new role in mid-February and end his Treasury position, where he has been consulting with Sunak over the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Citing a former colleague of Mr Sharp, the report said that he will act as an "able and supportive" chairman to recently appointed director-general Tim Davie.

    "He doesn't court publicity, but neither does he shirk difficult assignments, and he will make an excellent choice to work alongside Tim given his relationship with the current administration", the unnamed source claimed.

    Mr Sharp, who is largely accredited with overseeing a £1.5bn arts bailout package amid the COVID-19 crisis in the summer, has been considered the favourite to take the position following the withdrawal of former Daily Telegraph editor and licence fee critic Charles Moore from the bid.

    The former banker also spent several years on the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee as well as advisor to now Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London.

    He has also historically been a donor to the Conservative Party. However, Sky cited an unnamed supporter of the new BBC chair, claiming that he had given only £2,500 to the organisation in the last 10 years.

    Even if Sharp is not an active member of the Conservative Party, the reported announcement comes as No.10 has been filling prominent positions in the BBC with those close to the government.

    Direct General Davie stood as a councillor for the Conservative Party in Hammersmith in 1993 and 1994 and also worked as deputy chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham Tories throughout the 1990s.

    Davie has previously been a critic of the disproportionately "left-wing" slant of the UK's largest corporation and has called for a broader range of content including booking more right-leaning comedians and even axing certain shows altogether.

    This also comes as the BBC's license-fee funding model comes under criticism, with suggestions that the corporation could be funded via a subscription fee.

    The new funding regime is expected to be announced later this year.


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