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BBC Trust chairman steps down

Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC’s governing body, is standing down with immediate effect after undergoing major heart surgery.

Lord Patten

Lord Patten

Patten’s exit comes a week after being admitted to hospital for emergency surgery and he has since been advised by doctors to reduce his workload. He had suffered from cardiac problems for over seven years.

“On the advice of my doctors … and having consulted my family and friends, I have concluded that I cannot continue to work at the same full pace as I have done to date, and that I should reduce the range of roles I undertake,” Patten said in a statement today.

BBC director general Tony Hall said that Patten had “steered the BBC through some of its most difficult days” and was a “staunch believer” in the organisation.

”In undertaking this role he brought unrivalled experience, wisdom, and an overwhelming desire to ensure that the BBC remains the best public service broadcaster in the world.”

Patten was appointed in May 2011, just under a year before the exit of former director general Mark Thompson.

As chairman of the BBC Trust, he was forced to try and steer the UK pubcaster through a host of crises including the sex scandal involving former presenter Jimmy Saville and the exit of Thompson’s successor George Entwistle after just 54 days in the job.

Patten, who had been due to step down in April 2105, was instrumental in appointing Hall, who took over the position from Entwistle in 2012, and also oversaw the recent controversy over six-figure pay-offs to former execs.

In his statement, he added that the BBC was “not perfect” but said it was a “precious and wonderful thing, a hugely positive influence which benefits greatly from the creativity and dedication of its staff.”

Vice-chairman Diane Coyle will replace Patten as acting chairman in the interim until a successor is appointed.

By Richard Middleton


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