SAMIR Shah has just been confirmed as the new chairman of the BBC.

The veteran TV executive replaces acting BBC chairwoman Dame Elan Closs Stephens after the post was vacated earlier this year by former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp, who resigned after failing to declare his connection to an £800,000 loan made to Boris Johnson.

Currently chief executive of award-winning production company Juniper TV, Shah was also an executive on the controversial report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, which concluded that the “claim the country is still institutionally racist is not borne out by the evidence”.

He has also criticised “woke warriors” in an article for The Spectator discussing the cultural appropriation of food.

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A statement from Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “With a career spanning more than 40 years in TV production and journalism, Dr Shah has a wealth of experience to bring to the position of BBC chair.

“He has a clear ambition to see the BBC succeed in a rapidly changing media landscape, and I have no doubt he will provide the support and scrutiny that the BBC needs to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

“His knowledge of the BBC and his belief in its role as a national broadcaster alongside his extensive work to promote diversity in broadcasting will be invaluable in helping to ensure that the BBC reflects, represents and serves communities across the whole of the UK.”

Shah was born in India but moved to England in 1960. He has a doctorate from the University of Oxford.

He was previously the BBC’s head of television current affairs, and later ran the BBC’s political journalism department at Millbank.

The National:

He said: “I am delighted to be named the preferred candidate for chair of the BBC and I look forward to the upcoming pre-appointment hearing with the Select Committee.

“The BBC is, without doubt, one of the greatest contributions we have made to global culture and one of our strongest calling cards on soft power.

“If I am able to put what skills, experience and understanding of public service broadcasting I have built up during my career to help this brilliant organisation meet the complex and diverse challenges it faces over the coming years, it would be an honour.

“The BBC has a great place in British life and a unique duty to reach a wide audience right across the country, and I will do all I can to ensure it fulfils this in an increasingly competitive market.”

The appointment comes at a challenging time for the BBC, with culture secretary Lucy Frazer effectively confirming this week that the broadcaster would get a below-inflation licence fee increase.

During his time as a non-executive director, Shah has been critical of the BBC – raising the question in an essay in 2008 on whether the BBC should be the sole beneficiary of the license fee.