About Lord Patten
Lord Patten finally saw the light and joined the BBC a mere 45 years after his first job offer. Turning down a graduate traineeship with the BBC in 1966 when he left Oxford, he instead threw himself into politics. Today he brings to the Trust about as much experience in the public sector, covering politics, diplomacy, and higher education, both at home and abroad, as it is possible to do.
Lord Patten’s career has been shaped by his strong belief that, with only one life, one must make the most of it, and that the most interesting things to do are usually the most difficult. As well as his successful political career at Westminster and with the European Commission, therefore, he has also taken on some uniquely challenging roles. These include the Governorship of Hong Kong, where, as last Governor, he managed the handover to China; and chairing the Independent Commission for Policing in Northern Ireland, which set up a new police service.
Lord Patten is Chancellor of the University of Oxford and was made a life peer in 2005. He is married with three grown-up daughters and lives in Barnes.
Lord Patten says:
"The BBC is the best broadcasting organisation in the world, and it is a great privilege to have been asked to take some responsibility for keeping it that way for the next four years. It is the best not simply because it makes wonderful programmes, but because it has placed itself technologically at the cutting edge, not something one would usually associate with public sector bodies.
"I love the BBC because, for example, you can watch a Horizon programme on earthquakes on one channel while you can find great comedy or high class drama on others. It is truly for all licence fee payers. However, the BBC is facing a tough period: it must continue to make high quality programmes in a difficult financial climate, when all licence fee payers are feeling the squeeze."
The BBC is an extraordinary mix of the best of the public sector and the creativity and entrepreneurial vim and vigour of the private sector"