The UK Government has lined up a veteran of the TV industry to head up telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Terry Burns was named by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as the preferred candidate to take over the role of Ofcom Chairman at the start of next year.

He will replace Patricia Hodgson, who announced her retirement from the role in May of this year, following a pre-appointment hearing on 13 December.

Burns was Chairman of broadcaster Channel 4 between 2010 and 2016, and has also chaired retailer Marks & Spencer, former bank Abbey National and the National Lottery Commission.

Currently he serves as Senior Adviser to Banco Santander, as well as serving on several committees in his capacity as a member of the UK’s House of Lords.

The term will last four years, with Burns paid £120,000 per year for up to three days a week of work.

Hodgson, who has chaired Ofcom since 2014, led the regulator as it grappled with the separation of infrastructure provider Openreach from BT.

She also oversaw Ofcom taking over supervision of the BBC, the UK’s state-owned broadcaster.

“It has been a busy and productive few years and a privilege to lead the Board during such a period of change,” Hodgson wrote in a letter explaining her decision to resign.

“The Board is strong; we have an outstanding Chief Executive and this timing is a necessary fit with other non-executive terms and renewals, which would otherwise coincide.”

One of the most pressing items in Burns’ in-tray will be the upcoming 5G spectrum auction, which is currently facing judicial review after challenges by Three and EE. The High Court will hear the case next week, with a decision expected in January.

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