The Chairman of the British Broadcasting Commission, Richard Sharp has resigned after a report found he broke the appointment process.
Sharp resigned after it was discovered that he had breached the law by neglecting to disclose that he had helped former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson obtain a loan guarantee worth $997,500,000,000.
The former Tory contributor twice violated the rules governing public appointments, according to Adam Heppinstall KC’s review, creating the impression that he was not impartial toward the then-prime minister.
By saying he would leave his key position monitoring the independence of the public broadcaster at the end of June, Mr. Sharp freed Rishi Sunak from having to decide his future.
The barrister’s review published on Friday morning said Mr. Sharp risked a perception that he was recommended for the role because he assisted Mr. Johnson “in a private financial matter’’ ahead of his appointment in 2021.
Mr. Heppinstall also said there was the risk it would be perceived that he influenced Mr. Johnson to recommend him by notifying the former prime minister of his application before submitting it.
However, failing to disclose both issues was found to have caused breaches of the governance code for public appointments.
In his resignation statement, Mr. Sharp insisted that his breach of the rules was “inadvertent and not material”.
“Nevertheless, I have decided that it is right to prioritize the interests of the BBC,’’ the former Goldman Sachs banker added.
“I feel that this matter may well be a distraction from the Corporation’s good work where I to remain in post until the end of my term.
“I have therefore this morning resigned as BBC chair to the Secretary of State and the Board.’’
The review was initiated after it came to light that he had referred Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to his friend Sam Blyth, a distant relative of Mr. Johnson who wanted to assist him with his financial difficulties before the Government had approved him for the position.
BBC director-general Tim Davie thanked Mr. Sharp for his service to the BBC and “the drive and intellect he brought to his time as chairman’’.
“Working with him over the last two years has been rewarding and Richard has made a significant contribution to the transformation and success of the BBC,’’ Mr Davie said.
“The focus for all of us at the BBC is continuing the hard work to ensure we deliver for audiences, both now and in the future.’’