Richards to run Blighty's regulator

A former adviser to the two most powerful men in Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown, is the new head of Blighty’s communications regulator, the Office of Communications.

Ed Richards steps up from chief operating officer to become Ofcom CEO following the recent departure of Stephen Carter.

Richards, who will earn around £400,000 ($720,000), is a highly regarded operator who helped draft the 2003 Communications Act that created Ofcom, which he joined on its inception. He has been responsible for many of its key reviews, including a lengthy appraisal of pubcasting.

Ofcom chairman David Currie said Richards “has a profound understanding of the markets we regulate.”

He was the leading candidate to succeed Carter, especially after Ofcom sent him on a 10-week course at Harvard Business School last year.

Richards began his media career as a researcher at British indie Diverse Prods. and was also one of ex-BBC topper John Birt’s advisers.

His Ofcom agenda includes a possible ban on junk food advertising on commercial TV in Blighty; the issue of what, if any, public service commitments terrestrial webs ITV and Five should have in a digital age; the future funding model for commercial/pubcaster hybrid Channel 4; and even some of the BBC’s activities.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more