Ex-Culture Minister Vaizey Considered for U.K. Ofcom Shortlist

The U.K. is considering former minister Ed Vaizey for its final shortlist of candidates to chair communications regulator Ofcom, according to people with knowledge with the matter.

Officials at the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will narrow the list of applicants this week ahead of final interviews due in the final week of April, though aspects of the process may be delayed by the state mourning following the death of Prince Philip, the people said, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Ofcom’s responsibilities are set to swell in the next few years. It’s soon to inherit the complex task of regulating harmful and illegal speech online, in addition to its roles monitoring TV and radio services including the British Broadcasting Corp. and overseeing the U.K.’s broadband infrastructure.

Vaizey was culture minister from 2014 to 2016. He’s now a member of the U.K.’s upper legislative chamber, the House of Lords, as well as an executive at boutique bank LionTree Advisors LLC and an adviser at FTI Consulting Inc. He holds roles at a string of other businesses and public bodies.

The former editor of the Daily Mail newspaper Paul Dacre is also being strongly considered, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The right-wing tabloid, one of Britain’s most popular papers, inveighed against the BBC during his tenure. Dacre remains chairman and editor-in-chief at Daily Mail and General Trust Plc’s news group Associated Newspapers.

Other candidates are still also in the race, the people added. The chairman will steer Ofcom’s board, though the watchdog’s operations and decisions will be directly managed by its Chief Executive Officer Melanie Dawes.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, while a spokesman for Ofcom declined to comment. DMGT declined to comment. Paul Dacre didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Vaizey declined to comment.

Whoever is successful may have to step away from other roles and interests they hold. According to the U.K. Cabinet Office’s code of conduct for board members of public bodies, office holders must “declare and resolve any interests and relationships” that might influence their work.

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