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BBC chairman resigns over loan to ex-PM Boris Johnson

April 28, 2023

Richard Sharp said a report on the controversial loan showed he played no part in facilitating, arranging or financing it. However, he was found to have breached the governance code for public appointments.

A photo of BBC chair Richard Sharp and Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The British public broadcaster's chairman has been at the center of the controversy surrounding Johnson's loanImage: House Of Commons/PA Wire/dpa/picture alliance

The chairman of the BBC, Britain's main public broadcaster, resigned on Friday after he was found to have breached ethical standards over the Boris Johnson loan scandal.

Richard Sharp announced his resignation as an investigation found him in breach of a governance code for public appointments. The report was also published on Friday.

Yet, he said the report on the controversial loan established that he played no part in the "facilitation, arrangement, or financing of a loan for the former prime minister."

What was in the reports on Richard Sharp?

A committee of UK lawmakers found that Sharp had made "significant errors of judgment" by not revealing that he had acted as a go-between to help Johnson secure an 800,000 pound ($964,640 or €902,000) loan.

Sharp was appointed to lead the BBC in 2021, shortly after the loan was arranged.

"I feel that this matter may well be a distraction from the Corporation's good work were I to remain in post until the end of my term," said Sharp, in reference to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). He agreed to stay in his role until the end of June, to give time for the government to appoint a successor.

Britain's public appointments watchdog, the Commissioner of Public Appointments, has been probing Sharp's selection to chair the BBC. 

A report on the probe found that the chairman failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest while being appointed, that being his role in facilitating Johnson's loan.

However, the report established that the aforementioned breach did not nullify his appointment.

rmt/msh (AP, Reuters)

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