The BBC is a corporation established by Royal Charter. The latest charter was presented to Parliament in October, 2006. The sovereign body at the BBC is the BBC Trust, which consists of twelve members. The Trust is responsible for setting ‘the strategic objectives of the BBC’.
Four members ‘represent’ the British nations – Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England – and an International Trustee. The Queen appoints all twelve trustees, ‘on advice from Ministers after an open selection process’.
The trustees are:
Lord Patten (Chairman) £
Diane Coyle (Vice Chairman)
Alison Hastings (England)
Rotha Jonston (Northern Ireland) £
Bill Matthews (Scotland)
Elan Closs Stephens (Wales)
Lord Williams (international)
Anthony Fry £$
Suzanna Taverne £$
(A £ indicates that a trustee currently sits on the board of a bank or financial institution. A $ indicates that a trustee has worked for an investment bank in the past.)
The Trust appoints the Director-General of the BBC, who heads its Executive Board, which is ‘responsible for the operational delivery of BBC Services and the direction of BBC editorial and creative output‘.
The seven executive directors are:
Mark Thompson (Director-General)
Helen Boaden (Director, BBC News)
George Entwhistle (Director, Vision)
Tim Davie (Director, Audio and Music)
Ralph Rivera (Director, Future Media)
Caroline Thomson (Chief Operating Officer)
Zarin Patel (Chief Financial Officer)
At present there are also six non-executive directors from outside the corporation:
Marcus Agius (Senior Independent Director) £$
Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE
Dr Mike Lynch
The government appoints all the trustees and the trustees in turn appoint the head of the Executive Board (ie the Director-General). They also approve all non-executive directors.
According to its Charter, ‘the BBC shall comprise all the members of the BBC Trust and the Executive Board’. So the BBC consists of twenty-five people. Seven of them (28%) work as journalists and broadcasters at the BBC. Five of them (20%) sit on the boards of banks or other financial institutions.
Again, according to its Charter, ‘the BBC’s main object is the promotion of its Public Purposes’.
The public purposes of the BBC are as follows:
(a) sustaining citizenship and civil society;
(b) promoting education and learning;
(c) stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;
(d) representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities;
(e) bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK;
(f) in promoting its other purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services and, in addition, taking a leading role in the switchover to digital television.
A full 20% of the BBC sits on the boards of banks and other financial institutions. I know, I am repeating myself. But 20% …