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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Davies appointment 'no surprise'
Gavyn Davies
Davies was once a TV economics pundit
The appointment of Gavyn Davies as chairman of the BBC board of Governors was foreseen by many media watchers.

As vice-chairman of the corporation he was seen as having the right experience for the post.

John Tusa
John Tusa is a former managing director of BBC World Service
"He was always the leading candidate for the job so it's no surprise he's been appointed," said editor of Broadcast Lucy Rouse.

Managing director of the Barbican Centre John Tusa welcomed the appointment warmly.

"I think it is an excellent appointment - Gavyn Davies understands the importance of public service broadcasting," he said.

Others are waiting to see what measures Mr Davies takes, if any, to inject more "commercial nous" into the BBC.

As the author of a report on BBC funding which had some radical suggestions such as privatising BBC Worldwide, there could well be some interesting new measures.

It'll be interesting to see if he distances himself from his close connection with New Labour

Philippa Kennedy, editor of Press Gazette

The appointment means the BBC will be led by two Labour supporting candidates, something that has caused consternation in the Conservative camp.

BBC director general Greg Dyke has supported the party financially in the past and Mr Davies only resigned from the party in the aftermath of his appointment.

But the pair are from widely different backgrounds; Mr Dyke's is in programme-making, while Mr Davies is a self-made millionaire economist.

There had been reports that Mr Dyke's preference would be for a chairman from a non-creative background to complement his own experience as an executive.

Mr Tusa said that he thought Gavyn Davies would act as a "useful counterweight" to Greg Dyke.

He pointed to "far too close and uncritical" relations between past director generals and chairmen, particularly fingering Sir John Birt and Sir Christopher Bland.

We know that Gavyn Davies will be an excellent chair

John Fray, NUJ
Philippa Kennedy, editor of Press Gazette described the appointment as "very predictable".

Her fears are that Mr Davies' contacts with the government will harm the impartiality of the BBC.

"It does seem unbalanced to have two such strong contributors to Labour as chairman and director general of the BBC."

Ms Kennedy said that broadcaster David Dimbleby, who also applied for the post, was "the journalist's choice".

But the National Journalist's Union, which represents some 30,000 UK journalist's welcomed the choice openly.

Greg Dyke
Director general Greg Dyke has welcomed the appointment
"We know that Gavyn Davies will be an excellent chair," said John Fray, deputy general secretary.

"It's a pleasure to have an ex-member of the Labour party at the helm."

But Tory supporters have been quick to criticise the appointment, though Conservative leaning candidates were the norm under various Conservative governments.

Mr Fray emphasised that regardless who was chosen, the NUJ were simply glad that the appointment had been filled.

He said that outgoing chair Sir Christopher Bland may have been "otherwise occupied" since his appointment to BT and journalists would benefit from the appointment.

"From the NUJ's point of view, it's great news that the BBC - which is the largest single employer of journalists in the UK - now has a dedicated chairman in place."

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