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Indian-Origin TV Executive Set To Takeover As BBC Chairman: Who Is Samir Shah?

With over 4 decades of experience in TV production and journalism, 71-year-old Samir Shah received the CBE in 2019.

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The British government has proposed India-born media executive Dr Samir Shah as the preferred candidate to assume the role of the new BBC chairman.

With over four decades of experience in TV production and journalism, 71-year-old Shah received The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in 2019 for his contributions to television and is set to succeed Richard Sharp, who resigned following scrutiny over his improper communications with former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Shah's nomination will now pave the way for him to be scrutised by cross-party Members of Parliament of the House of Commons Media Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee before he formally assumes leadership of the British public service broadcaster.

British Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said, “With a career spanning more than 40 years in TV production and journalism, Dr Shah has a wealth of experience to bring to the position of BBC Chair."

She added, “He has a clear ambition to see the BBC succeed in a rapidly changing media landscape, and I have no doubt he will provide the support and scrutiny that the BBC needs to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.”

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Who is He?

Samir Shah, born in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India, in 1952, relocated to England with his family in 1960. He pursued his education at an independent British school and earned a degree in Geography from the University of Hull. Furthering his academic pursuits, Shah studied for a DPhil degree at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, completing it in 1979.

His professional journey began at London Weekend Television, where he collaborated with notable figures like John Brit, who later became the director-general of the BBC, and Michael Wills. In 1987, Shah assumed the role of BBC’s head of TV current affairs. From 1994 to 1998, he directed the BBC’s political journalism programs. It was in 1998 that he acquired Juniper TV from Wills following the latter’s appointment as a Member of Parliament.

Shah has also held positions as the BBC's head of television current affairs, and has headed the corporation's political journalism across radio and television. He was also appointed as non-executive director the BBC board in 2007.

Juniper TV now supplies programmes to the BBC, along with Channel 4, National Geographic and Netflix.

An alumnus of Oxford University, Shah is also considered an expert in race relations and co-authored the British Government’s 2021 Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report.

He was also on a three-member panel, to independently review the 2022 unrest in Leicester in the aftermath of an India-Pakistan cricket match.

Mohit Bakaya Shah’s half-brother is the controller of BBC Radio 4, The Indian Express reported.

"I am delighted to be named the preferred candidate for Chair of the BBC and I look forward to the upcoming pre-appointment hearing with the Select Committee," Shah said and added, "The BBC is, without doubt, one of the greatest contributions we have made to global culture and one of our strongest calling cards on soft power."

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Topics:  BBC 

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