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BBC announces its first ever female chairperson

Rona Fairhead was awarded the job three months after Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “determined” to appoint a woman to the position

Published: Updated:

United Kingdom ministers are expected on Sunday to appoint to the BBC its first permanent female chair, the Daily Mail reported.

Former Financial Times boss Rona Fairhead has been awarded the job three months after Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “determined” to appoint a woman to the position.

Fifty-three year-old Fairhead, a non-executive director of HSBC Holdings and PepsiCo, and recently on a board of the Cabinet Office, was the government’s “preferred candidate” to follow Lord Pattern as BBC chairman.

Fairhead was caught in controversy earlier this year following a $1.8 million pay-off that angered shareholders of parent company Pearson.

Pattern said he was stepping dow after his heart surgery.

Lord Coe, a previous candidate for the $180 thousand-a-year job said he did not have the “capacity” to serve the position considering his other commitments.

“Just because she is female does not mean that is the reason she was appointed. She has an excellent CV and wide experience, and I look forward to seeing her in front of the select committee,” Chairman Tory MP John Whittingdale is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.

Whittingdale earlier warned Cameron against pushing through the appointment based on gender, rather than merit.

“The BBC is a great British institution packed with talented people, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to be chairman of the BBC Trust,” Fairhead said according to the British daily.

“I’m under no illusions about the significance or enormity of the job but am excited to have the chance to lead the BBC through the coming years,” she said.

Fairhead is expected to appear before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee later this month for a “pre-appointment scrutiny.”