Michael Grade resigns as BBC Chairman
Michael Grade has today resigned as Chairman of the BBC with immediate effect to
become Executive Chairman of ITV.
The Board of Governors and the BBC Trust have
issued statements as follows.
Statement by Anthony Salz, Vice-Chairman on behalf of the Board of Governors:
"Michael Grade has been an inspirational leader of the BBC since his appointment in
May 2004. His passion for quality and value for money has been a driving influence
for major changes, all with the sole purpose of delivering a better service for the
"The Board is disappointed he is moving to ITV, but he leaves behind a BBC
that is passionate about and committed to serving the public in new and exciting
Statement by Chitra Bharucha, Vice-Chairman on behalf of the BBC Trust:
"All of us recently appointed to the BBC Trust are disappointed we will not have an
opportunity to work with Michael Grade.
"His success in securing a new 10 year
Charter for the BBC that safeguards its independence and ensures it operates only
in the public's interest is testimony to his time as Chairman.
because of him, the Charter future-proofs the new governance arrangements which
will be operational from January and place the interests of licence fee payers at
the heart of our decisions.
"The BBC Trust wishes Michael Grade well for the
Notes to Editors
Michael Grade's resignation as Chairman is effective immediately. He will take up
his position at ITV early in the New Year.
Under the provisions of the current Charter, the Vice-Chairman Anthony Salz becomes
Acting Chairman of the BBC with immediate effect and remains in that post until the
Board of Governors is dissolved at midnight on 31 December 2006.
becomes Acting Chairman of the BBC Trust with immediate effect, it having powers
limited to the transitional provisions as stated in the new Charter, prior to the
BBC Trust assuming its responsibilities in full with effect from 1 January 2007.
The DCMS is responsible for the appointment of the Chairman and other members of
the BBC Trust. Appointments are made in line with the Nolan principles for public
Email to BBC staff from BBC Director-General Mark Thompson
"Many of you will have already heard the news that Michael Grade, the Chairman of
the BBC, has decided to accept the job of Executive Chairman of ITV. Michael is
stepping down from his responsibilities at the BBC today. Anthony Salz will take
over as Acting Chairman with immediate effect.
"I know that some of you will find Michael's decision and its timing surprising. I
believe that over the past two and a half years he has been an excellent Chairman
of the BBC. He played a critical role in charter renewal and helped design a
system of governance that I am confident will stand the test of time. The new BBC
Trust will start as scheduled at the start of next year and I and the rest of the
executive team are looking forward to working with them. We will work with
Governors and Trustees to ensure a smooth transition.
"ITV needs a new leader and Michael's many strengths and long experience make him a
strong candidate for the job. We're sorry to see him go but wish him the very best
for the future.
"Below is a message from Michael to everyone at the BBC.
All the best,
Message from Michael Grade to everyone at the BBC
"Dear friends and colleagues,
"A short while ago, an announcement was made to the Stock Exchange about my
appointment to ITV. It contains some bare facts which disguise what has been a huge
personal decision for me, namely to leave the BBC. Firstly, I would like everyone
to understand this is a career decision. What it is NOT is a reaction to anything,
internal or external. I was faced with the choice of getting back into programming
or 'governing' the BBC from a distance. Those of you who know me will understand
just what an effort of will it has taken for me, as Chairman of the Governors, not
to look at the overnight ratings every day, not to engage in idle programming chit
chat with the brilliant creatives who are currently taking BBC television, radio
and online to new heights of quality - and so on.
"Looking back over the past two and a half years, I can say I have never felt so
privileged, never felt such a responsibility, and never felt so proud. Being the
Chairman of the BBC was the most unexpected job I have ever had. The welcome you
gave me on my arrival is embedded deep within my emotional dna. At that moment I
realised what was at stake for me, for the BBC.
"So much has been accomplished in the last two and a half years that I feel
comfortable that I have achieved what I set out to achieve - namely restore the
equilibrium of this great institution, to lead the process to appoint a new DG,
to secure a new ten year Charter and to reform the governance of the Corporation.
With the help of my fellow governors and the new Governance Unit, the future is
secure, the independence of the BBC is safeguarded and, most important of all, our
programmes across all media are maintaining the overwhelming support of the licence
"ITV is a competitor to the BBC, yes. BUT the BBC does need ITV to be strong, both
for competitive reasons and to maintain the balance of power within British public
service broadcasting. So I leave with the feeling that I have done the best I can
to secure the future of the institution about which I will always care so deeply, I
leave with some sadness because of all the friends old and new who have been my
support over the past two and a half years. What I won't miss is the BBC sandwiches
at meetings. They have taken re-cycling to new heights. But I digress.
"In a speech I made when I was CEO at Channel 4 I included the words: 'It's the BBC
that keeps the rest of the industry honest.' That is as true today as it ever was.
I am off to a new challenge, maybe at 63 my last real job, and hopefully give you a
run for your money. That's how it should be. Look after Auntie, I am sure you won't
need me again. And thank you for having me.
BBC Press Office/Governance Unit