Ofcom Chief Executive Sharon White to leave

Sharon White is leaving her position as Chief Executive of Ofcom at the end of the year to take up a role with John Lewis.

She will have been in the job for almost five years, having joined in March 2015 from HM Treasury.

Lord Burns, Ofcom Chairman, said: “Sharon has been an outstanding Chief Executive for Ofcom and will be missed by the whole organisation. Under Sharon’s leadership, Ofcom has helped to deliver ultrafast broadband, widespread 4G mobile and now 5G, and became the first independent regulator of the BBC.

“She leaves Ofcom as a regulator with a relentless focus on the consumer interest; making sure people and businesses can get the best out of their communications services.”

Sharon White said: “It’s been a huge privilege to lead Ofcom at a time when reliable, affordable communications have become essential. I will leave behind an organisation that is dedicated in its mission to make communications work for everyone.”

Reacting to the news, the Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright wrote on Twitter: “Under Sharon White’s direction, Ofcom has gone from strength to strength and delivered fairer deals for UK consumers. I wish her all the best at The John Lewis Partnership and thank her for the valuable contribution she has made to UK telecommunications.”

Sharon is expected to leave Ofcom around the turn of the year. The latest published information shows that her base annual salary is £341,700. Reports suggest her new role as Chairman of The John Lewis Partnership will earn her more than £900,000 a year.

The Ofcom Board will now begin the process to appoint a successor.

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15 Comments
  1. Mike Gable says

    340 Grand. 340 Grand. Now on to 900 Grand. The world is so screwed.

    1. Craig Strong says

      Well put Mike Gable and Radio Geordie!

    2. LJ says

      Why would that be?

  2. Radio Geordie says

    Ofcom is a regulator with a relentless focus on the consumer interest – really?
    Here’s a more truthful quote:
    “Ofcom is a regulator that only listens to the big corporations & doesn’t give a monkeys about the listener/viewer*. Broadcasting – Its all about the money”
    *: Delete where appropriate.

  3. Lee says

    Sharon has been a terrible leader at OFCOM allowing big business’s to rule their strategy for the future of radio in my view. Poor John Lewis! I hope she does better.

  4. Joe Smith says

    I’m sure she ticks all the right boxes for her employers. Except possibly the competent one.

  5. Neal says

    Just continues to prove it’s all about the money. A chief executive who clearly has no passion for local radio or broadcasting and now doubtless having overseen and helped approve all the the new relaxation rules allowing stations to have even less local programming leaves to go elsewhere and pocket a £560000.00 pay rise! But hey keep telling me it ain’t all about money and sod all else!

  6. Paul Swift says

    Did she have anything to do with the decision making allowing Global to cut all their Heart stations? Just look at the Heart Facebook page at the backlash!

    1. Lee says

      Hi Paul, Yes she did. She has allowed Global (and perhaps Bauer to follow) to regionalise radio stations, significantly reduce local hours and make hundreds of people redundant. The only way to get Global to reverse their ‘grab and slash’ decisions is to stop listening to their radio stations which will have an effect on advertising revenue (ie; their income). There might be a backlash on their facebook page but the proof will be the audience figures during the next round of the RAJAR’s – if you believe them. It will be a big challenge though to get Global to reverse their decisions as all they care about is much bigger profits. Despite originally telling us they had to syndicate output to save money the strategy, supported by OFCOM, made over £500 million last year I believe.

      1. Neal says

        Hi Lee Just visited the Heart facebook page for the first time ever. Don’t unfortunately think the backlash comments will make any difference. Too little too late. I can’t actually believe that none of these Heart listeners could see what has been slapping them hard in their faces for years. This was always Global’s one and only aim in life to create national radio by smashing up all local radio to achieve it. Shame us so called rose tinted glasses brigade who grew up with and know what true local radio was have been shot down in flames over the years as old farts who should go away to a corner and die. Sorry to say to those loyal Heart listeners you reap what you sow and Jamie and Amanda are your reward. Internet radio for me. So many miles better stations out there United DJs and 92.5 the river out of Boston to name but two.

        1. Lee says

          Couldn’t agree more Neal. The younger generation have been fed Globals lowest common denominator output for years now and know no different. Shame the under 30’s didn’t ever hear good quality local commercial radio so have nothing really to compare.

  7. Neil says

    Yeah Shazza..give yourself a huge pat on the back for helping to destroy local commercial radio in the UK with hundreds of radio people losing their jobs whilst you move on to an even bigger salary. Nice one.

  8. PC in Spain says

    But Neil, does she even care?

    I guess not a lot of thought went in to the process of decidint in Global’s favour other than Global ask and Global get.

    I am sure there should be minutes of meetings showing how and why the decision made was made but I guess if asked mot a hope of it being produced.

    Probably “commercially sensitive” .

    Lastly, if you look at her career path it is not orientated towards radio is it? A jobs a job but highest salary rules by the look of it.

    1. Lee says

      Hi PC in Spain, You should raise a Freedom Of Information Act request to OFCOM and ask for the minutes. You might find something interesting but, I agree, it may be censored for commercial sensitivity. Try it and see!!!

  9. Jamie says

    Ofcom is a joke. Her and her cronies (and their predecessors) have allowed Bauer & Global (& others) to destroy local radio with their identikit brainless pap. Quite how she’s now got a job with 3 times the salary is anyone’s guess.

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