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Guto Bebb appointed interim chair of S4C

14 Mar 2024 5 minute read
Guto Bebb, interim chair of S4C. Photo by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

Martin Shipton

Former Tory MP Guto Bebb has been appointed the interim chair of S4C for a period of up to a year from the beginning of April 2024.

The broadcaster has been in turmoil as a result of a bullying scandal that led to the dismissal of chief executive Sian Doyle in November 2023. An investigation undertaken by Cardiff law firm Capital Law heard evidence that Ms Doyle presided over a culture of toxic bullying.

The current chair, Rhodri Williams, announced earlier this year that he would not seek to be reappointed for a second four-year term. He will leave at the end of March. Broadcasting is not devolved and responsibility for S4C rests with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) .

Caernarfon

A statement from DCMS said: “The Secretary of State [Lucy Frazer] has appointed Mr Guto Bebb as interim chair of S4C from 01 April 2024 until 31 March 2025, or until a new substantive chair has been appointed, whichever is sooner.

“Guto Bebb, who lives in Caernarfon, is the group managing director of the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) having previously been the managing director of FUW Insurance Services Limited.

“Prior to his work with the FUW Guto was the MP for Aberconwy between 2010 and 2019. He is a former Under Secretary of State for Wales, a former Procurement Minister at the Ministry of Defence and was a Senior Government Whip in both the Cameron and May administrations. In addition to his Ministerial roles Guto was also a long-standing member of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee whilst also being a member of the Public Accounts Committee during his time at Westminster.

“Before his election, Guto was a business consultant and company director and worked extensively with private sector businesses and public sector organisations in Wales and the wider UK. He was also involved with advising a number of third sector organisations including numerous cultural and arts initiatives. Guto also co-founded a bookshop in Caernarfon and has an interest in literature and a strong affinity with the Welsh language and culture. An avid record collector he would state that he collected vinyl records long before they became fashionable again.

“The process to appoint a new substantive chair of S4C opened to applications today. This interim appointment has been made whilst this process is run. The chair of S4C is remunerated at £40,000 per annum. 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. 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. Guto Bebb has declared that he was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Aberconwy until 2019.”

Brexit

Mr Bebb sat as an Independent for the last few months of his time at Westminster, having had the Conservative whip withdrawn because of his opposition to Brexit and support for another referendum on membership of the EU.

Mr Bebb is currently a non-executive member of S4C’s unitary board.

At the end of February S4C published an action plan aimed at restoring confidence in it. A statement issued at the time said: “The Capital Law Report raised serious issues and some of these still require attention. We are committed to ensuring that S4C is a place where our colleagues feel respected, supported, and motivated to perform at their best. We are acutely aware that significant work is required to restore confidence and trust in S4C as an organization amongst our staff and our stakeholders in the creative sector.

“Our programme of work has been developed in consultation with stakeholders, including members of staff and the BECTU union. It is based around four themes: leadership, culture, HR policies and procedures, and governance.”

Trust

In terms of leadership, the statement said: “We are striving to restore trust and confidence amongst our staff, who play a vital role in the future success of S4C. Leadership built on integrity, accountability, cooperation and open communication is key to building a positive future.

“The Unitary Board is committed to appointing a new permanent Chief Executive as soon as reasonably practical who can help restore an ambitious S4C with a renewed focus on collaboration and the well-being of our colleagues. They will be responsible and accountable to the Board for delivering our strategy and laying the foundations for S4C’s continued success.”

Sioned Wiliam has been appointed interim chief executive.

The board also promised a change in culture, stating: “We must ensure that S4C staff feel the utmost confidence that any concerns they may raise will be dealt with, and one of our priorities moving forward is ensuring a culture of open communication to that end.

“Working closely with the S4C Management Team, a programme will be implemented to ensure positive cultural change wherever needed within the organisation.”

The organisation is reviewing its policies and procedures, and is also commissioning a review to ensure that its governance arrangements conform to best practice.


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Richard Davies
Richard Davies
27 days ago

Not content with filling the bbc with tory sycophants, they are now starting the same process with S4C.

The uk, Cymru and yr Alban are one party states that don’t get on with each other but still dominated by the jackboots of westminster!

Richard
Richard
27 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

If you’ve been following the news over the last few years, you will know that Guto Bebb is no longer a Tory.

David
David
27 days ago
Reply to  Richard

Before joining the Conservative party he was a Plaid Cymru councillor.

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
26 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Defund the BBC.

hdavies15
hdavies15
26 days ago

As I recall it Guto was part of the rapidly disappearing sane wing of the pre 2019 Tory party. Those baying for his blood should recall that he was outspoken in his views on remaining within the EU which is a damn sight more than many Labour politicians, so loved by commenters on here, could be bothered to be. His stance on most thinks were “soft right of centre” and if that is the new definition of “abomination” then a lot of commenters need to take a long hard look in a mirror that functions properly.

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