Ofcom has announced that Sharon White (pictured) will become the organisation’s chief executive in March. White currently serves as the second permanent secretary at HM Treasury where she is responsible for managing the UK’s public finances.
White will replace current chief Ed Richards who announced plans earlier this year to step down after 10 years at the helm. White will receive a salary of £275,000 in the role.
White has extensive experience of economics and government, having worked for organisations including the World Bank, the Department for International Development, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Justice and the Treasury.
However, she lacks any clear hands-on experience with the telecoms industry. Despite this, Ofcom chairwoman Patricia Hodgson said that White is an ideal candidate owing to her knowledge of the machinations of public sector organisations.
“White brings with her an outstanding combination of intellect, political acumen and experience leading complex public organisations,” she said.
“The Ofcom board is confident that Sharon will provide the leadership and vision to ensure Ofcom continues to promote a thriving communications sector in the UK that operates in the public interest.”
White said that she is looking forward to the role and grappling with the complexities of the telecoms market.
“The communications sector is vital to the economy and delivers essential services to everyone in the UK. I look forward to starting in this fascinating job and building on Ofcom’s considerable track record,” she said.
The appointment is still subject to approval by culture secretary Sajid Javid, although it is unlikely to be refused.
White will take over at Ofcom during a period of intense activity in the telecoms market. 4G and fixed broadband rollouts are still on the agenda, and further spectrum auctions are in the diary for the months ahead.
Furthermore, with BT announcing its intention to acquire EE for £12.5bn, White could well face pressure from other operators to ensure that the deal does not unbalance the telecoms industry.