Richard Sharp (BBC chairman)

Last updated

Richard Sharp
Chairman of the BBC
Assumed office
10 February 2021 [1]
Preceded by David Clementi
Personal details
Richard Simon Sharp

(1956-02-08) 8 February 1956 (age 65) [2]
London, England
Spouse(s) Victoria Hull (divorced)
Parents Eric Sharp, Baron Sharp of Grimsdyke
Relatives Victoria Sharp (sister)
Education Merchant Taylors' School
Christ Church, Oxford

Richard Simon Sharp (born 8 February 1956) is the current Chairman of the BBC, a role he has held since February 2021. A former banker, he worked at JP Morgan for eight years, and then for 23 years at Goldman Sachs. Sharp was an advisor to Boris Johnson during his tenure as London Mayor, and to Rishi Sunak as Chancellor. He has donated more than £400,000 to the Conservative Party.


Early life

Richard Sharp was born on 8 February 1956, [2] in London. [3] He is the son of Eric Sharp, Baron Sharp of Grimsdyke, who was chairman of Cable & Wireless plc from 1980 to 1990. [4] His twin sister, Dame Victoria Sharp, is president of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court in England and Wales. [4] [5]

In 1978, he earned a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Christ Church, Oxford. [5]


Sharp worked for JP Morgan for eight years. [6] He then worked for Goldman Sachs for 23 years, rising to chairman of its principal investment business in Europe, before leaving in 2007. [7] He was Rishi Sunak's boss when they both worked for Goldman Sachs, [6] was an advisor to Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London, and acted as an unpaid adviser to Sunak on the UK's economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. [8] He was a member of the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee from 2013 to 2019. [7] In 2014, he joined the property investment company RoundShield Partners, where he was a senior member until February 2021, when The Guardian approached the firm for comment. RoundShield advised and managed a fund that provided a £50m loan to Caridon, which has been accused of "cramming homeless and low-income families into former office blocks". [9]

Sharp was chairman of the Royal Academy of Arts from 2007 to 2012. [7] In January 2021, it was announced that he would be the next chairman of the BBC, succeeding David Clementi who was due to leave the position in February 2021. [7] [8] Speaking shortly after his appointment, Sharp told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that he planned to give his £160,000 BBC salary to charity. [10] Controversy surrounded his appointment as it was revealed that not only had he donated more than £400,000 to the Conservative Party, but that he was also formerly the director of the Centre for Policy Studies, a think tank with historical links to the Conservative Party. Critics have pointed out that a person who holds such a position as that of BBC chairman should be politically impartial. [11] [12] The appointment followed that of Tim Davie, a former Conservative Party councillor, to the role of Director-General. [13]

Personal life

In 1987, Richard Sharp married Victoria Hull, an American and fellow Goldman Sachs banker, in Connecticut. [4] [14] They have three children together. [3] In October 2008, the couple were living in Kensington, and had an estimated net worth of £500 million. [15] They divorced, and some time after 2014, Hull married British investment banker Sir Simon Robey. [16]

Sharp has given more than £400,000 to the Conservative Party, [4] and £35,000 to the Quilliam think tank via his charity, the Sharp Foundation. [17] When asked why he donated to Quilliam, Sharp said he was impressed by founder Maajid Nawaz's "efforts to combat radicalism and extremism". [18] He is Jewish. [4]

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  2. 1 2 "Richard Sharp CV" (PDF). Bank of England. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  3. 1 2 Bell, Alex (23 January 2015). "Getting to the Sharp end of a mysterious central bank". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Frazer, Jenni (27 October 2020). "Leading candidate to be next BBC chair is Jewish banking expert Richard Sharp". Jewish News. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  5. 1 2 Rajan, Amol (6 January 2021). "Who is Richard Sharp, the BBC's new chairman?". BBC News. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  6. 1 2 Sampson, Annabel (22 October 2020). "Rishi Sunak's former boss is a hot contender for the BBC chairmanship job". The Tatler. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Former banker Richard Sharp to be next BBC chairman". 6 January 2021 via
  8. 1 2 Bland, Archie (6 January 2021). "Rishi Sunak's adviser Richard Sharp to be next BBC chair". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  9. Wall, Tom (25 February 2021). "New BBC chair managed firm that funded controversial property company". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  10. "BBC's incoming chair to donate £160K salary to charity, inspired by Jewish roots". Jewish News. 15 January 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  11. Chivers, Tom (16 January 2021). "The Cosy Politics of the BBC Chair". Tribune . Retrieved 18 January 2021.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. Warrington, James (6 January 2021). "Richard Sharp: Who is the surprise new frontrunner to be BBC chair?". CityAM. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  13. "BBC licence fee is 'least worst' option, says new chairman Richard Sharp". BBC News. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  14. "Victoria Hull Wed To Richard Sharp". The New York Times. 30 August 1987. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  15. "The 1000". Evening Standard. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  16. Semmes, Anne W. (22 March 2019). "Robey Brings Honor to Father Via the London Philharmonic". Greenwich Sentinel. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  17. Oborne, Peter (13 January 2021). "Richard Sharp's donations to Quilliam raise questions about his BBC chairmanship". Middle East Eye . Retrieved 14 January 2021.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. MEE staff (13 January 2021). "BBC chair donated to Quilliam because he was 'impressed' by Maajid Nawaz". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 9 April 2021.