U.K. gov taps Currie for watchdog

New org to regulate all Brit TV

LONDON — The government has named David Currie chairman of the U.K.’s new regulator, the Office of Communications.

Currie, 55, is a member of the ruling Labor Party with close ties to Chancellor Gordon Brown.

He will oversee an organization that unites the U.K.’s five previous communications watchdogs, including the Independent Television Commission, the Broadcasting Standards Commission and the Office of Telecommunications.

Included in Ofcom’s brief is the power to monitor and control all British television, including pubcaster BBC; the commercial terrestrials ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5; satcaster BSkyB; and cablers NTL and Telewest.

Currie, who is dean of City U. Business School and a professor of business economics, will work a four-day week and earn £133,000 ($209,000) per year. He will hold the post of chair for five years.

“The U.K. is leading the world in establishing an integrated, world-class regulator that will set the conditions for the U.K. communications industry to flourish,” Currie said. “I relish the opportunity to make that happen.”