Who is Dr Samir Shah? Indian-origin media executive set to replace Richard Sharp as BBC chairman

Samir Shah was born in Aurangabad and is a race relations expert

Dr Samir Shah Dr Samir Shah | UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Dr Samir Shah, a 71-year-old media executive, is the UK government's preferred candidate to take over as the new BBC chairman, said reports.

Shah is expected to appear before the country's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for a pre-appointment scrutiny before he formally takes charge of the public service broadcaster. He will replace Richard Sharp who was forced to quit after his communication with former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson sparked controversy.

"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," Shah said.

"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," he added.

The BBC chairman's position is a three-day-a-week role with an annual salary of £160,000 (over Rs 1.67 crore).

Who is Dr Samir Shah?

With over 40 years of experience in broadcasting field, the Indian-origin media veteran was conferred with a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2019 for services to television and heritage.

Previously the head of current affairs and political programmes at the BBC, Shah has also served as a non-executive director of the BBC between 2007 and 2010. Shah's half-brother Mohit Bakaya is currently serving as controller of BBC Radio 4.

Born in Aurangabad, Shah came to the UK in 1960 and is an Oxford University alumnus. The race relations expert is the CEO and owner of Juniper, a TV and radio production firm.

Shah co-authored the government's Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report in 2021 and was part of a three-member panel set up by the government to independently review 2022 Leicester unrest between communities following an India-Pakistan cricket match.

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