Currie Appointed Supra Communications Industry Watchdog

26 July 2002

Lord David Currie of Marylebone has been appointed by the UK government as chairman of Ofcom, the so-called ‘super watchdog’ for Britain's communications industries proposed in the upcoming Communications Bill, currently in passage through Parliament.

Curry, Dean of City University, a respected academic, economist and longstanding Labour Party member, until Thursday represented governmental interests in the House of Lords – but resigned the party ‘whip’ just hours before announcement of his appointment.

He will arguably be the nation’s most powerful industry regulator, overseeing all television and radio – with the notable and controversial exception of the BBC – the internet (within the British isles) and telecommunications.

There are already ripples on the puddle over the appointment of such an overtly political figure and this is likely to grow into an oceanic tidal wave in the ensuing days. It is expected that Currie will relinquish his lucrative portfolio of non-executive directorships, among them Abbey National, O2 (formerly BT Cellnet) and Microsoft, contenting himself with the Ofcom chairman’s annual pittance of £133,000 ($209,931; €209,912).

Eulogized Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport [also minister for puple prose]: “David Currie is an outstanding choice for this position. I am sure his appointment will be widely welcomed throughout the whole industry. I am confident that this leadership and strategic view of regulation will enable Ofcom to help achieve the government's vision of making the UK home to the most dynamic and competitive communications and media market in the world.”

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff