Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has appointed a panel of experts to advise on the controversial BBC Charter Review process.

Included are Dawn Airey, senior vice president of Yahoo’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and formerly chairman and chief executive of Channel 5; Ashley Highfield, CEO of Johnston Press, one of the largest local media groups in the UK, and former director at the BBC and Andrew Fisher, executive chairman at Shazam.

“Each member of the independent advisory group brings individual skills, experience and expertise. Together they will contribute to the oversight of the Government’s Review of the BBC Royal Charter. I look forward to working with them on this important issue,” said Mr Whittingdale.

The appointments, which are voluntary and in personal capacities, come ahead of this week’s Green Paper on the future of the corporation.

It has been open season on the BBC since the election of the Conservative government in May.

Sir Michael Lyons, a former chair of the BBC Trust, said the situation was getting “murkier and murkier” after a behind closed doors deal that saw the BBC agree to fund free TV licences for the over 75s.

The BBC Trust is almost certain to be abolished and there is further pressure on the BBC to reduce its areas of interest.

The Panel in full:
•Dawn Airey – Senior Vice President of Yahoo’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and formerly Chairman and Chief Executive of Channel 5.
•Dame Colette Bowe – Chairman of the Banking Standards Board, President of the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, and former Chair of Ofcom.
•Andrew Fisher – Executive Chairman at Shazam.
•Darren Henley OBE – CEO of Arts Council England and former Managing Director of Classic FM.
•Ashley Highfield – CEO of Johnston Press, one of the largest local media groups in the UK, and former director at the BBC.
•Alex Mahon – former CEO of Shine Group, global television content production company.
•Lopa Patel MBE – digital entrepreneur and founder/CEO of NewAsianPost.com and Diversity UK.
•Stewart Purvis CBE – British broadcaster and academic, and former Editor-in-Chief and CEO of ITN.