Michael Grade picked to take over UK media regulator

Former BBC Chairman Michael Grade has been picked as the new chairman of U.K. media regulator Ofcom, the government announced Thursday following a long and difficult recruitment process.

The Conservative peer has held senior roles at several of the U.K.’s main broadcasters and has previously criticized the BBC license fee as a “regressive tax.”

He must still face a pre-appointment cross-examination by MPs but is expected to take on the job barring any upset. 

Grade’s selection comes as the U.K. government ploughs ahead with controversial plans to regulate social media platforms and continues to call for reform of the BBC. 

The search for an Ofcom boss has taken more than two years, after Boris Johnson unsuccessfully attempted to install former Daily Mail Editor Paul Dacre.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who took the final decision on Grade’s nomination, said his “experience at the highest level of a number of broadcasters and his expert knowledge of the British media landscape makes him an ideal candidate for this role.”

She predicted Ofcom would take on “an even more important role” as ministers try to clamp down on illegal and abusive material online.

If approved, Grade would give up his seat on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords to sit as an independent crossbencher.

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