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Dame Elan Closs Stephens BBC Acting Chair

June 2, 2023

By Colin Mann

The UK Government has confirmed Professor Dame Elan Closs Stephens as the Acting Chair of the BBC.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer made the appointment following consultation with the BBC Board, in line with the terms of the BBC’s Royal Charter. Dame Elan will replace Richard Sharp who will step down on June 27th. The appointment is for twelve months, or until a new permanent Chair has been appointed, whichever is sooner.

Dame Elan has been a non-executive director on the BBC Board since July 2017, and prior to that was the Trustee for Wales on the BBC Trust (2010 – 2017). Between 2019 and 2022, she was Chair of the Commercial Holdings Board for BBC Studios. Under the BBC’s Charter an Acting Chair must be an existing non-executive director on the BBC Board.

“I am pleased that Dame Elan will take up the position of Acting Chair of the BBC and has the unanimous support of the Board,” commented Frazer. “When she takes over, Dame Elan will provide stability in the leadership of the BBC while a process to appoint a new permanent Chair is run.”

“It’s a huge honour to be appointed by the Secretary of State as Acting Chair and I am grateful to my fellow Board Members for putting their trust in me,” said Dame Elan. “As a Board, we will champion the licence fee payer across all of the UK; ensure the BBC is a vital partner for the UK creative industries; maintain trust and drive change to make the BBC fit for a fast changing media landscape. There is much work to be done.”

Dame Elan is an experienced chair and non-executive, with a distinguished career in broadcasting, the creative industries and academia. She is a former Chair of the Welsh-language broadcaster, S4C, and is currently the Pro-Chancellor and Professor Emerita in Communications and Creative Industries at Aberystwyth University. She is the Electoral Commissioner for Wales.

Dame Elan will remain in post as Acting Chair while the UK Government undertakes the process to appoint a new, permanent BBC Chair; this process is expected to take several months.

In a Statement, the BBC Board said: “Elan has been an active and distinguished member of the BBC Board who has brought huge energy and drive to her role as Member for Wales. We are delighted that she is taking up the role as Acting Chair; she is the ideal choice.”


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