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Ex-equalities chief Trevor Phillips could be next BBC chair

NEW ROLE?: Trevor Phillips

TREVOR PHILLIPS has been tipped to become the next chair of the BBC, according to a senior Government source.

The former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is being “seriously considered” for the top job following the departure of Lord Patten, reports Operation Black Vote (OBV).

Many insiders believed the former Olympian Lord Coe would take the role, but he recently ruled himself out citing his commitments to the Olympic movement.

With Coe out of the running, the Government has once again begun their search, placing Phillips at the top of their list, a senior source in Government told the organisation.

Another rumoured frontrunner is City boss Nick Prettejohn, who was recently appointed chairman of pensions and investment firm Scottish Widows.

He is understood to be one of up to five candidates set to be interviewed later this week.

Before moving from the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) to become the first chair of the EHRC, Phillips had a long career in journalism and as a TV executive. For many years he fronted his own show, The London Programme.
This news comes after the corporation announced they would create a small team to cover the underreported African-Caribbean community.

They had faced ridicule following the sacking of Helen Bart and Kurt Barling who between them had 35 years of experience before their contracts were not renewed. There was further pressure when Lenny Henry demanded they - and other broadcasters - ring-fence a minimum amount of money for BME productions.

“We are going to increase the number of political reporters and city correspondents across England to enhance local coverage and we are focusing our funding on original journalism through the big stories fund in Newsgathering and by providing extra money for Newsnight,” the BBC said in a statement.

OBV said Phillips appointment within the “heartbeat of the British establishment” would be viewed as a “maverick move if he was given the job by the Prime Minister David Cameron, particularly given that is not a member of the Conservative party.”

They said: “He is however, seen as safe and often with a conservative ‘small c’ outlook. This then may have appeal from both Right and Left of the political divide.

“The other big factor, which is critical to Cameron, will of course be next year’s General Election. Here the BME vote could be the deciding factor. This is a key area for PM, and he has already shown he will promote talented BME individuals to high office. For example, half the Conservative BME MP’s have all benefited from his patronage by being given Ministerial positions, including Sajid Javid MP the first BME Secretary of State,” they added.

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