Chris Patten quits as BBC Trust Chairman
| 07 May 2014
In yet another blow for the broadcaster, BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten is standing down from his role with immediate effect following major heart surgery.
Patten took up his post in May 2011 and announced in July 2013 that he would step down in May 2015 just after the UK General election at which the issue of BBC funding will assume political importance.
In a statement announcing his retirement, Patten said: "As is well known, I underwent angioplasty while in Hong Kong and a cardiac ablation procedure some seven years ago; and since then I have been regularly assessed by my cardiologist ... On the advice of my doctors, however, 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. On this basis I have decided with great regret to step down from much the most demanding of my roles – that of chairman of the BBC Trust."
Patten's tenure as head of the body designed to work on behalf of licence fee payers so that the BBC provides high quality output, good value and independence has been beset by numerous highs and lows. The success of covering the 2013 London Olympic Games was effectively obliterated by the Jimmy Savile scandal and the Newsnight crises.
These effectively precipitated the resignation of hapless former Director General George Entwistle and the furore over repayments to former senior members of staff which saw Patten and former executives, most notably former DG Mark Thompson, severely bruised by the UK parliament's media select committee in a process that revealed in-fighting and incompetence.
Commenting on the resignation, newly appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Equalities, Sajid Javid, said: "It is with regret that the government accepts your resignation. Over the last three years under your chairmanship you have steered the trust successfully through some great moments for the BBC including coverage of the Olympics and continuing to deliver high quality original programming that is exported around the world. You have also embraced the challenges that have confronted the BBC, putting in place improvements to governance and building a stronger executive team helping the BBC to move forward with confidence. Throughout you have shown an unfettered personal commitment to securing the best outcome for the public."
Before the UK Government identifies a successor, Diane Coyle, as vice chairman of the trust, will serve as acting chair.