Sir David Clementi, who crafted the new BBC governance structure in favour of state regulation, is poised to be named the government choice for the new chair of the corporation this week.
The consensus is that Clementi, the former deputy governor of the Bank of England and chair of Prudential and Virgin Money, is the favoured over Dame Deirdre Hutton, the chair of the Civil Aviation Authority, who is thought to have limited relevant media experience.
The other candidate on the shortlist, John Makinson, the chairman of the book publisher Penguin Random House, is no longer thought to be in the running after Karen Bradley, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, put forward one preferred candidate from a shortlist of three to Theresa May over the holidays.
Theresa May is expected to reveal the government’s preferred candidate to lead the BBC’s new unitary board later this week, with the official appointment then made by the Queen.
Downing Street says Theresa May has not yet made up her mind "on the right candidate for the role", ITV News reports, but Clementi is not expected to be rebuffed.
His appointment is thought to ruffle a few feathers due to his involvement in the BBC’s regulation overhaul last year. In March he recommended that the current BBC Trust system be scrapped and regulation of the corporation be handed to independent state regulator Ofcom. His recommendation was adopted by the government in May, and under the new BBC Royal Charter, Ofcom will become the BBC's first external regulator in April 2017, when the new unitary board led by BBC chair will take over.
BBC Trust chair, Rona Fairhead, was due to take up the new position of BBC chair but announced she would stand down after the prime minister asked her to reapply for the role.
On the selection of Sir David Clementi as the preferred candidate for the BBC Chair, Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, said: “I am delighted that Sir David Clementi has been announced as the preferred candidate. I am really looking forward to working with him.”