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Ofcom UK Appoints Temporary CEO to Replace Sharon White

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 (10:48 am) - Score 793

The UK broadband, media and communications regulator, Ofcom, has today announced that their Group Director of Competition, Jonathan Oxley, will be appointed as an “interim” CEO while the longer than expected hunt continues to find a replacement for outgoing boss Sharon White, who leaves at the end of this month.

Sharon formally announced her intention to step down from the challenging role in June (here). The plan had been to appoint a replacement by “around the turn of the year,” although so far they’ve yet to find a permanent replacement and that hunt is thus on-going.

Meanwhile it’s noted that Jonathan himself did not in fact apply for the role of CEO but, given his existing experience with the regulator, he does seem to be a good interim fit and is quoted as being “delighted” with the Board’s decision.

Lord Burns, Ofcom Chairman, said:

“Jonathan is extremely well equipped to step up to provide important continuity for Ofcom and the sectors it regulates.”

During White’s period in power she oversaw a number of major industry developments, such as the strategic review of digital communications that resulted in the further legal separation of BT from Openreach, as well as the merger of BT with EE and conversely the stark – some would say controversial – rejection of O2 and Three UK’s proposed merger.

On top of that she has tried to encourage more “full fibre” deployments, overseen numerous disagreements between mobile network operators, designed a new broadband USO and helped to introduce a variety of new consumer protection measures (e.g. easier mobile switching, automatic compensation for broadband ISP faults, end-of-contract notifications etc.).

Being the boss of a large regulator like Ofcom is anything but easy.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Joe

    Ofcoms obsession with driving down prices damaged the rollout of better tech. Plenty of its problem were of it own making.

  2. Avatar New_Londoner

    Let’s hope that Jonathan does a better job, even if on a temporary basis, than his predecessor. Decisions taken by Ofcom under the leadership of Sharon White caused a lot of unnecessary problems, mainly due to Sharon taking it in a much more political direction despite Ofcom supposedly being an independent regulator.

    The reintroduction of economic literacy and political independence to the regulator would be a great start!

  3. Avatar New_Londoner

    @MarkJ
    I note that Melanie Dawes, a senior civil servant, is to be Ofcom’s new chief executive. She is currently permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Let’s hope that she proves herself to be more capable than Sharon White to justify the appointment of another civil servant rather than someone from the industry.

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