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New retail role for telecoms watchdog

Ofcom chief White to replace Mayfield at John Lewis

John Lewis

Unconventional John Lewis Partnership gets an ‘unconventional’ chairman


 

John Lewis has appointed the head of telecoms regulator Ofcom as chairman, replacing Sir Charlie Mayfield who will step down next year.

Sharon White, pictured below, will step down as chief executive of Ofcom at the turn of the year. She joined the watchdog in March 2015 from the Treasury where she was Second Permanent Secretary.

Sir Charlie admitted that his successor, who has held senior government positions,, was an unexpected candidate for the role.

“I readily recognise that Sharon is not the conventional retail choice. But these are not conventional retail times, nor is the Partnership a conventional company,” he said.

Sharon White (John Lewis)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.”

Ms 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.”

The Ofcom board will now begin the process to appoint a successor as CEO,  a public appointment made by the Ofcom board and involving an independent assessor. It is subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.



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