Caroline Thomson

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Caroline Thomson
Caroline Agnes Morgan Thomson

(1954-05-15) 15 May 1954 (age 64)
Alma mater University of York
EmployerEnglish National Ballet
Spouse(s) Roger Liddle, Baron Liddle
Parent(s) George Thomson, Baron Thomson of Monifieth (father)

Caroline Agnes Morgan Thomson, Lady Liddle (born 15 May 1954) [1] is chair of the charity, Oxfam. [2] . She is a former BBC executive and was the Corporation's chief operating officer, from March 2011 to September 2012 [3] and she stood in for Mark Thompson, the former director general, when necessary. [4]

Oxfam humanitarian organization

Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organizations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations. Winnie Byanyima has been the executive director of Oxfam International since 2013.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.


Thomson is the elder daughter of Labour peer George Thomson, Baron Thomson of Monifieth. [5] She was educated at Mary Datchelor Girls' School in Camberwell, a grammar school, [6] and graduated from York University, where she read history and economics. [7]

The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom which has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party's platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers' rights.

George Thomson, Baron Thomson of Monifieth British politician

George Morgan Thomson, Baron Thomson of Monifieth, KT, PC, DL, FRSE was a journalist and British politician who served as a Labour Party MP. He was a member of Harold Wilson's cabinet, and later became a European Commissioner.

University of York research-intensive plate glass university located in the city of York, England

The University of York is a collegiate plate glass research university, located in the city of York, England. Established in 1963, the campus university has expanded to more than thirty departments and centres, covering a wide range of subjects.


She first joined the BBC as a journalist trainee in 1975, ultimately becoming a producer on Analysis (Radio 4) and later Panorama (BBC1) before becoming personal assistant to SDP leader Roy Jenkins in 1982. She spent over a decade at Channel 4 from 1984, initially as a commissioning editor, later as Head of Corporate Affairs from 1990, before rejoining the BBC in 1996 as Deputy Director of the World Service. [8] She became the Corporation's Director of Policy and Legal Affairs in July 2000, a job description later expanded to include Strategy, before being promoted to chief operating officer in 2006. In 2011 she was paid £385,000 by the organisation. [9] The Commons Public Accounts Committee suggested that her £670,000 redundancy pay-off was effectively paid to "compensate" her for missing out on the job of director-general. [10]

Analysis is a BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme which has been running for more than 40 years, and is currently broadcast in a half-hour format.

BBC Radio 4 British domestic radio station, owned and operated by the BBC

BBC Radio 4 is a radio station owned and operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is Gwyneth Williams, and the station is part of BBC Radio and the BBC Radio department. The station is broadcast from the BBC's headquarters at Broadcasting House, London. On 21 January 2019 Williams announced she was quitting the role. There are no details of when or who will be her replacement.

BBC One is the first and principal television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution. It was renamed BBC TV in 1960, using this name until the launch of the second BBC channel BBC2 in 1964, whereupon the BBC TV channel became known as BBC1, with the current spelling adopted in 1997.

In October 2013 she became Executive Director of the English National Ballet [11] [12]

English National Ballet is a classical ballet company founded by Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin and based at Markova House in South Kensington, London, England. Along with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet, it is one of the four major ballet companies in Great Britain. English National Ballet is one of the foremost touring companies in Europe, performing in theatres throughout the UK as well as conducting international tours and performing at special events. The Company employs approximately 67 dancers and a symphony orchestra, and there is also an associate school, English National Ballet School, which is independent from the ballet company. The Company regularly performs seasons at the London Coliseum and has been noted for specially staged performances at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2014 English National Ballet became an Associate Company of Sadler's Wells. The Patron of English National Ballet is HRH The Duke of York.

Since November 2012, she has been Chair of Digital UK. [13] She is also chair of Tomorrow's People Trust's Ambassadors group and Trustee to a number of charities including the National Gallery. [14]

Digital UK is a British company owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva which supports Freeview viewers and channels. It provides people with information about their options for receiving terrestrial TV and advice on reception and equipment. The company also handles day-to-day technical management of the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), allocates channel numbers and manages the launch of new services and multiplexes onto the platform. Digital UK has been licensed by Ofcom as an EPG provider.

National Gallery Art museum in London

The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

Personal life

Caroline Thomson is married to the Labour peer Roger Liddle, an advisor to Tony Blair while Blair was Prime Minister.

Roger Liddle, Baron Liddle British political advisor

Roger John Liddle, Baron Liddle is a British political adviser and consultant who is principally known for being Special Adviser on European matters to the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. He also worked together with Peter Mandelson on books outlining the political philosophy of the Labour Party under Blair's leadership. He is chairperson of the international think tank Policy Network and Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lancaster.

Tony Blair Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997. As of 2017, Blair is the last UK Labour Party leader to have won a general election.

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  1. "Miss Caroline Thomson" [ permanent dead link ], Debrett's
  2. "Oxfam's CEO, Directors and Trustees - Oxfam GB". Oxfam GB.
  3. "Caroline Thomson to leave the BBC", BBC Media Centre, 18 September 2012
  4. "Biographies – Caroline Thomson – Chief Operating Officer, BBC Press Office
  5. William Rodgers, 'Thomson, George Morgan, Baron Thomson of Monifieth (1921–2008)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2012; online edn, May 2012 accessed 15 June 2012
  6. "Corrections and clarifications", The Guardian, 30 March 2012
  7. "Interview with Carol;ine Thomson", University of York website, 19 July 2011
  8. Sabbagh, Dan (25 March 2012). "Caroline Thomson – engine room strategist ready to take BBC helm". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  9. "BBC executive: 'swearing in TV comedies is acceptable'". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 December 2011.
  10. Christopher Hope "BBC gave inflated pay-offs to top staff, NAO says",, 1 July 2013
  11. "Staff | English National Ballet". Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  12. "Press Release: Caroline Thomson Appointed Executive Director of English National Ballet - Ballet / Dance news & information" . Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  13. Sabbagh, Dan (14 November 2012). "Caroline Thomson rules herself out of BBC Director General race". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  14. "BBC Declaration of Personal Interests" (PDF). Retrieved 23 April 2012.