LONDON: Ed Richards, chief operating officer of UK media and telecoms regulator Ofcom was anointed Thursday as chief executive officer with immediate effect.

From the moment former ceo Stephen Carter announced his resignation [WARC News: 21-Jul-06], Richards was seen by some, within and without the Ofcom bunker, as the Anointed One, accoutred for high office by Carter himself and (backstairs gossip has it) by Ofcom's remote controller, prime minister Blair.

Prior to joining the Ofcom board in March 2003, Richards was premier Blair's senior policy advisor on an array of topics: Media, Telecoms, Internet and e-Government.

His ascension seemed assured when he was appointed to the number two executive role last year and despatched at public expense to Harvard Business School.

He bested five other candidates for the top Ofcom role, two of them inhouse candidates: Kip Meek a specialist in content issues, and competition expert Sean Williams.

To mark the occasion, there was the usual exchange of clichés.

Intoned Ofcom chairman Lord David Currie: "Ed has played a critically important role in the establishment of Ofcom. He has a profound understanding of the markets we regulate and is ideally placed to lead the organisation into the future."

Responded Richards: "This is a fascinating job in a fascinating and fast changing area. We have a strong organisation, committed people and a track record that we intend to build on. I am thoroughly looking forward to the challenges."

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