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Former Financial Times Group CEO to become next BBC Trust chairman

Source: Reuters - Sun, 31 Aug 2014 08:51 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Changes date, adds government statement)

LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Rona Fairhead, former boss of the Financial Times Group, will become the new chairman of the BBC Trust, the body which oversees the publicly funded British broadcaster, the government said in a statement on Sunday.

Fairhead will replace Chris Patten, who quit in May due to ill health after three turbulent years overseeing the broadcaster.

"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," Fairhead said in a statement.

"I am under no illusions about the significance and the enormity of the job."

Fairhead served as chairman and chief executive officer of the Financial Times Group, a division of Pearson plc, from 2006 to 2013 and most recently has been a non-executive director at HSBC bank.

Before she formally takes up the role, Fairhead will face a parliamentary committee hearing on Sept. 9 to scrutinise her appointment.

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

The BBC Trust oversees the corporation, setting the strategy and holding executives accountable for its performance.

Patten, who had previously served as the last British governor of Hong Kong, was in charge at the BBC during some of its lowest periods - including a child sex scandal involving Jimmy Savile, one of its biggest stars of the 1970s and 80s. (Reporting by Michael Holden and William James; Editing by Diane Craft)

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