Word on the (electronic) wire is that the vacant chair of the BBC Trust will be filled tomorrow when culture secretary Tessa Jowell (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) confirm that Sir Michael Lyons has been appointed.
It’s a position that has a history of April appointments. Michael Grade, the previous incumbent, was announced as Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors back on 2 April 2004, replacing Gavin Davies who resigned after the publication of the Hutton Inquiry report.
And now tomorrow, 5 April 2007, the current chairman of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (amongst other jobs*), Sir Michael will take over from the other Michael who spectacularly defected to ITV at the end of November.
* Other jobs include:
- Board member for City Pride, Birmingham Marketing Partnership, Millennium Point Property Trust Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
- Knighted in January 2000 for services to local government. (Previously Sir Michael was Chief Executive for Birmingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Wolverhampton Borough Council.)
- Honorary Professor of Public Policy at Birmingham University.
- Non-executive director of Mouchel Parkman plc, Wragge & Co and SQW Ltd.
- Chair of the English Cities Fund.
His timing is perfect. He finished his previous big job last week, with the final report from the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government hot off the presses on 27 March, looking at council tax reforms.
His profile is good too. Much like Sir John Major’s early years working in his father’s garden ornament business, Sir Michael can claim to have a humble start in business, having been a street market trader back in 1970, and The Sun suggest he will represent the “eyes, ears and views of the licence-fee payer”.
And his politics look perfect too. Producing the Lyons Inquiry means he’s close to the Chancellor (and likely next Prime Minister) Gordon Brown, who successfully squeezed the BBC Licence Fee increase in the recent renegotiations.
And if the rumours about Sir Michael’s appointment aren’t true, then the other two potential names are Chris Powell (brother of Blair’s chief of staff Jonathon Powell) and Chitra Bharucha (current acting chair of the BBC Trust).