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Michael Smyth appointed as BBC Board member for Northern Ireland

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that Michael Smyth has been appointed as a non-executive director on the BBC Board. Michael Smyth will be the Northern Ireland member on the Board and serve a term of four years.


Born and educated in Northern Ireland, Michael Smyth is an experienced lawyer and regulator. For 20 years he was a partner at international law firm Clifford Chance and head of the firmís government and public policy practice. His textbook on Business and the Human Rights Act was one of the first of its kind and he is joint author of works on political donations and sanctions law.

He has been Senior Independent Director at the Legal Services Board, the oversight regulator for the legal profession and a member of the Press Complaints Commission. He was also a founder director of the Fundraising Regulator, which regulates charity fundraising and was chair of its Complaints Committee. He also served for two terms as a member of the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives. For a decade Michael was chair of Protect, the whistleblowing charity, and Community Links, the pioneering east London charity, amongst his many not-for-profit activities. He is also non-executive chair of Glastry Advisory Partners, a music management company.

The appointment is made by the King-in-Council, on the recommendation of the UK Government, and having consulted with the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland.

Elan Closs Stephens, Acting Chair of the BBC, says: ďI am delighted to welcome Michael Smyth who has been appointed as the BBC Board member for Northern Ireland. Michaelís extensive experience of public policy, legal regulation and overseeing high-profile public inquiries will make him an asset to the Board.Ē

The BBC Board consists of 14 members, with a majority of non-executive directors. The Chairman and four non-executive members are appointed by the King-in-Council on the recommendation of Ministers, with one member representing each of the four nations of the UK. The appointment of a Northern Ireland member was delayed mainly due to the absence of a power sharing Executive in Northern Ireland. The BBC Board appoints a further five non-executive members through its Nominations Committee. There are four executive directors on the Board, including the BBCís Director-General who is the Corporationís chief executive officer and editor-in-chief.

The BBC Board is responsible for ensuring the BBC fulfils its mission and public purposes as set out in the Charter. The Board must uphold and protect the independence of the BBC and make its decisions in the public interest. It is accountable for all of the Corporationís activities including the publicly funded services, as well as the commercial activities in the UK and around the world.

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