BBC pulls up chair

U.K. pubcaster set to up Davies as chairman

LONDON — Gavyn Davies is reportedly set to be named the next chairman of the BBC.

Davies, vice chairman of the pubcaster, is said to be the only name put forward to the U.K government from the shortlist of contenders for the job, and Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to rubber stamp the appointment this week.

Davies is also the chief economist in Britain for U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs; he is estimated to have a personal fortune of roughly £160 million ($230 million).

If the appointment is confirmed, Davies will have beaten vet TV journalist David Dimbleby, perhaps the only other prime candidate for the position. Davies is considered to have close ties to Britain’s ruling Labour government.

The outgoing BBC chairman, Christopher Bland, is stepping down later this month to become full-time chairman of telco British Telecom.

Show criticized

On Saturday, BBC director general Greg Dyke apologized for a special edition of its current affairs program “Question Time,” hosted by Dimbleby, after some viewers claimed it was insensitive to the tragedy in the U.S. That, however, is unlikely to have affected Dimbleby’s chances.

The show, which aired Thursday on BBC1, had a studio audience that included many people — Muslim and otherwise — who were openly hostile to America.

Former U.S. ambassador to Britain Philip Lader appeared near tears when he was shouted down by some audience members as he tried to express his grief.

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