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London, April 28 – BBC Chairman Richard Sharp resigned on Friday over a report into whether he failed to properly disclose his involvement in the facilitation of a loan to former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Barrister Adam Heppinstall was appointed by the Commissioner of Public Appointments to investigate the claims which had first appeared in the Sunday Times, says the BBC.
Confirming his resignation, Sharp said the report, which was published on Friday, found “that while I did breach the governance code for public appointments, he states that a breach does not necessarily invalidate an appointment”.
He said the report finds he did not play “any part whatsoever in the facilitation, arrangement, or financing of a loan for the former Prime Minister”.
But he said with hindsight he should have disclosed his role in setting up a meeting between Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and Sam Blyth — a businessman who was offering the then PM financial help — to the appointments panel during the scrutiny process ahead of him taking up the senior role.
Sharp said not doing so was an “oversight” and apologised for it.
In a statement, he said he did not want to be a “distraction”, adding that it had been an honour to chair the BBC.
He will remain in post until June until a successor is appointed.
In response to his resignation, the BBC board said: “We accept and understand Richard’s decision to stand down. We want to put on record our thanks to Richard, who has been a valued and respected colleague, and a very effective chairman of the BBC.
“The BBC board believes that Richard Sharp is a person of integrity.”
The board added that Sharp had a been a “real advocate for the BBC, its mission, and why the corporation is a priceless asset for the country, at home and abroad”.
Sharp, a former banker, was appointed as Chairman of the BBC on February 10, 2021. He previously worked at JP Morgan for eight years, and then for 23 years at Goldman Sachs.