Sharon White’s appointment as Ofcom chief confirmed

Following reports last week, UK regulator Ofcom has confirmed the appointment of Sharon White as its new Chief Executive. Joining from the HM Treasury, where she is Second Permanent Secretary, White will officially take the reins in March next year.

In her current role, which she has held since November 2013, White is responsible for managing the UK’s public finances and before this she served as Director General, Public Spending at the treasury.

“Sharon brings with her an outstanding combination of intellect, political acumen and experience leading complex public organisations,” Ofcom Chairman, Patricia Hodgson said.

“The Ofcom Board is confident that Sharon will provide the leadership and vision to ensure Ofcom continues to promote a thriving communications sector in the UK that operates in the public interest.”

White will replace Ed Richards, who is stepping down at the end of this month after leading the UK regulator for eight years. During the first quarter of 2015, Steve Unger, Director of Ofcom’s Strategy, International, Technology and Economist Group, will step up as an acting Chief Exec until White takes the position at the end of March.

“The communications sector is vital to the economy and delivers essential services to everyone in the UK,” White said. “I look forward to starting in this fascinating job and building on Ofcom’s considerable track record.”

The appointment comes just after BT’s announcement it is in exclusive negotiations with Deutsche Telekom and Orange to possibly acquire their subsidiary and UK’s biggest mobile operator, EE. If the three manage to come to an agreement, White and the rest of the Ofcom management will have their work cut out in setting fair conditions for the purchase. As the former state monopoly telco, BT is already the dominant force in the fixed-line market, and a bid for the biggest mobile operator is sure to come with some regulatory strings attached.

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