Gavyn Davies

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Gavyn Davies

Gavyn Davies (born 27 November 1950) was the chairman of the BBC from 2001 until 2004, a former Goldman Sachs banker and a former economic advisor to the British Government. On 28th January 2004 he announced that he was resigning his BBC post following the publication of the Hutton Inquiry report which heavily criticised the organisation.

Davies was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge and Balliol College, Oxford. He worked for as an economic advisor to James Callaghan from 1976-1979. Afterwards he had stints as Chief Economist at Simon & Coates and Goldman Sachs. He was later promoted to international managing director for the bank. During this time he also served as one of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's "wise men" during the 1992-1997 parliament.

In 1999 he chaired an inquiry into the future funding of the BBC. His suggestions - to sell off a portion of BBC Worldwide (the corportation's commercial wing) and to raise the TV Licence fee by around 20% in order to fund new digital channels - were swiftly rejected by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

In January 2001 he was appointed a vice-chairman of the broadcaster. He was promoted to chairman just 10 months later for a five year term. He resigned in January 2004 following the publication of the Hutton Inquiry which heavily criticised the BBC's news reporting that Davies had supported. In his resignation statement he said he was "happy to accept ... ultimate responsibility" for everything the BBC does. However he raised questions about the conclusions of Lord Hutton, including the question of the use of unverifiable sources and possible threats to the freedom of the press.

Davies is reported to have amassed a wealth of 150m through shrewd investments. Davies has in the past donated part of his wealth to the Labour Party of whom he has been a long-term supporter. His appointment as BBC chairman sparked allegations of cronyism from Opposition political parties - Davies' wife is a private secretary of Chancellor Gordon Brown and the pair are known to be good friends. Defenders of the appointment pointed out that Davies had been selected by a panel independent of Government. It has been suggested that the behaviour of Davies and Greg Dyke during the David Kelly affair was in part due to a wish to demonstrate their independence of government.


Preceded by:
Christopher Bland
BBC Chairman
Followed by:
Lord Ryder (Acting)
Preceded by:
Baroness Young
BBC Vice-Chairman
Followed by:
Lord Ryder

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