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Ofcom Appoint Dame Melanie Dawes as CEO, Replaces Chairman

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 (10:28 am) - Score 1,208

The UK broadband, media and communications regulator, Ofcom, has today announced that, following a delay due to the General Election, they’ve finally found their new CEO in the shape of Dame Melanie Dawes. She replaces “interim” CEO Jonathan Oxley, who himself became a stand-in after Sharon White’s exit.

Not unlike ex-CEO Sharon White, Dame Melanie Dawes appears to lack some experience in this particular field of regulation and has a history of working at the Treasury, HMRC and at other economics related roles within the civil service. More recently she has been the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and recently became Permanent Secretary Champion for Diversity and Inclusion for the Civil Service in 2019.

The biggest challenges facing Ofcom’s new CEO going forward are likely to stem from the need to implement significant regulatory changes in order to support the move to “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband ISP networks, as well as fostering related investment and supporting 5G mobile.

On top of that the regulator now looks set to take on responsibility for policing internet content (censorship), which is an immensely complicated task to get right. When it comes to harmful online content, understanding the context of such content is vitally important and so is managing the scale of intervention (trying to be the thought police for every single bad comment people might make is a nightmare).

Dame Melanie said:

“Ofcom plays a crucial role in ensuring that people and businesses across the UK get the best from their communications services. It’s a great privilege to be appointed as Chief Executive at a time of significant change in the sectors Ofcom regulates.”

Nicky Morgan, DCMS Secretary of State, said:

“I congratulate Dame Melanie Dawes on her appointment as chief executive of Ofcom. Melanie’s experience leading organisations through change will be vital as the Government today announces it is minded to appoint the organisation as regulator for new online harms laws.

I would also like to thank Lord Burns for his work as Chair of the organisation. He has provided expert stewardship and will leave the media and telecoms regulator in a strong position.”

As part of today’s announcement Ofcom’s Chairman, Lord Burns, has also agreed to stand down. The primary reason seems to be related to Ofcom’s future powers to regulate internet content, which will extend its role. “The Secretary of State has indicated that the Government would like a Chair to be in place who is able to oversee the successful implementation of any changes in full,” said Ofcom.

The new Chair is planned to be in place by the end of 2020, provided they can find somebody suitable for the job. Meanwhile Lord Burns has agreed to stay on until the new Chair is in place to ensure a smooth transition.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar joe

    “Not unlike ex-CEO Sharon White, Dame Melanie Dawes appears to lack some experience in this particular field of regulation ”

    Where’s my facepalm emoticon 🙁

    • Avatar joe

      Just looking her up: Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Champion having been the previous Gender Champion.

      Given she is now being setup as the new Chief Internet Censor under the plans for the Great Wall of China…oops Britain..perhaps this explains the choice.

  2. Avatar Ahmed khan

    Due to the corvid19 and the G5 link ,Melanie dawes threatening any broadcaster with sanctions if they allow anyone to make connection between covid29&G5 ,what does this means ,or what message is she’s giving ,is she the law above the law or an ofcom dictator ?Pwrple are dying in thousands around the world ,so whose payroll she’s on ,tax payers or the zionists americans ?

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