Dr. Samir Shah, a distinguished India-born media executive with a remarkable four-decade career in the industry, has been announced as the UK government’s favored choice to assume the role of the new BBC chairman.
The 71-year-old industry stalwart, bestowed with a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2019 for his notable contributions to television and heritage, is set to succeed Richard Sharp. Sharp resigned under scrutiny following revelations of communication with former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Dr. Shah’s appointment awaits confirmation through a rigorous pre-appointment scrutiny process by cross-party Members of Parliament from the House of Commons Media Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee.
With a career spanning over four decades in TV production and journalism, Dr. Shah brings a wealth of experience to the position, as acknowledged by UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer on Wednesday during the confirmation of the selection as per the appointment process. She expressed confidence in Dr. Shah’s ability to provide the necessary support and scrutiny to guide the BBC through the challenges and opportunities of the evolving media landscape.
Minister Frazer emphasized Dr. Shah’s extensive knowledge of the British Broadcasting Corporation and his commitment to promoting diversity in broadcasting as invaluable assets. She noted that these attributes would play a crucial role in ensuring the BBC’s reflection, representation, and service to communities across the entire UK.
Dr. Shah, commenting on his prospective role, highlighted the BBC’s significant place in British life and emphasized its unique duty to reach a broad audience throughout the country. He expressed his dedication to leveraging his skills and experience to help the BBC navigate the complexities and diversities of the coming years.
Born in Aurangabad, Dr. Shah arrived in England in 1960 and previously served as the head of current affairs and political programs at the BBC. He currently holds the positions of CEO and owner of Juniper, an independent television and radio production company. Additionally, Dr. Shah was a non-executive director of the BBC from 2007 to 2010 and contributed as a race relations expert to the government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report in 2021.
Notably, Dr. Shah recently participated in a government-appointed three-member panel tasked with independently reviewing the unrest in Leicester last year, following clashes among community groups after an India-Pakistan cricket match.
Assuming the role of BBC chairman, a three-day-a-week position with an annual salary of GBP 160,000, Dr. Shah will bear the responsibility of upholding and protecting the taxpayer-funded license fee-operated public broadcaster. His role will include ensuring that the BBC fulfills its mission to inform, educate, and entertain.