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BBC names new Trust boss

The BBC has revealed a surprise replacement for Lord Patten following his exit as chairman of the broadcaster’s governing body.

Rona Fairhead takes up the role of chair at the BBC Trust following a seven-year spell as CEO of newspaper publisher Financial Times Group.

Fairhead, who is also a non-exec director at banking group HSBC and global beverage firm PepsiCo, becomes the first woman to chair the Trust and said she was “under no illusions about the significance and the enormity of the job.”

She replaces Patten, who stepped down in May after undergoing major heart surgery.

He had held the position for three years, during which he was forced to steer the UK pubcaster through a host of crises including the sex scandal involving former presenter Jimmy Saville and the exit of director general George Entwistle after just 54 days in the job.

Patten, who had been due to step down in April 2105, was replaced on an interim basis by vice-chair Diane Coyle.

Fairhead must still face questions from the Media Select Committee on September 9 before her appointment is confirmed by the Queen, based on a recommendation from Culture Secretary Sajid Javid.

He said Fairhead was an “exceptional” individual and that her “experience of working with huge multinational corporations will undoubtedly be a real asset at the BBC Trust.”

Fairhead’s appointment comes as the BBC seeks to extend its royal charter, which sets out how the broadcaster operates and is funded. The current charter runs until the end of 2016.

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