Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Michael Smyth CBE KC (Hon) appointed as Northern Ireland Member of the BBC Board [July 2023]

The press release issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 20 July 2023.

His Majesty the King has appointed Michael Smyth CBE KC (Hon) as the Northern Ireland Member of the BBC Board.

Michael Smyth CBE KC (Hon)

Appointed for a four year term commencing 20 July 2023 to 19 July 2027.

Michael Smyth is an experienced lawyer and regulator. For 20 years, he was a partner in international law firm Clifford Chance, latterly as head of the firm’s government and public policy practice and leading on assignments including the Hutton Inquiry and a number of high-profile corporate crises.

He wrote the textbook Business and the Human Rights Act and is also joint author of works on political donations and sanctions law.

He has been Senior Independent Director at the Legal Services Board, the oversight regulator of the legal profession and also been a member of the Press Complaints Commission. He was also a founder director of the Fundraising Regulator, and was for two terms a member of the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives.

Amongst his many not-for-profit activities, he was for a decade chair of Protect, the whistleblowing charity and later Community Links, the pioneering east London charity.

Michael, who was born in Northern Ireland, is also non-executive chair of Glastry Advisory Partners, a music management company.

Remuneration and Governance Code

The BBC Northern Ireland Member is remunerated £38,000 a year. This appointment has been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Article 23(10) of the BBC’s Royal Charter requires the agreement of Northern Ireland’s Executive Committee to make this appointment. On 6 December 2022 the Northern Ireland Office secured passage of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2022. This includes provision on the exercise of appointment functions in the absence of the Executive Committee, including section 7 on public appointments. This came into force on 7 February by virtue of S.I 2023/89 (C.7). The effect of section 7 is to convert the Royal Charter’s requirement to obtain the agreement of the Executive Committee to a requirement to consult a Northern Ireland department during the current period in which there is no Executive. The Department for Communities were consulted on this appointment and confirmed it was content for this appointment to proceed.

Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years must be declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or candidature for election. Michael Smyth KC CBE (Hon) has not declared any significant political activity.