Ofcom appoints Dame Melanie Dawes as chief executive
Written by: Charlotte Hathway | Published:

The Ofcom Board has announced the appointment of Dame Melanie Dawes as chief executive. It has also said Lord Burns, its chairman, will step down by the end of the year.

Dawes was rumoured to have been selected by Ofcom back in November, but her appointment could not be confirmed until after the new government was formed due to the culture secretary needing to formalise it. She will take up her new position in early March.

Ofcom’s remit is expanding, with the organisation to also regulate new online harm laws. The culture secretary has indicated that the Government would like a new chair to be in place to oversee those changes in full, so Lord Burns has agreed to step down. He will stay on until the new chair is in place.

Lord Burns, Ofcom’s chairman, said, “I am delighted that the Secretary of State has approved Ofcom’s appointment of Dame Melanie Dawes as the next chief executive of Ofcom. The Government’s statement that it is minded to appoint Ofcom as the regulator for online harms is a vote of confidence in Ofcom’s expertise. I know Melanie will do a fantastic job of leading the organisation and maintaining its strengths.

“I look forward to working with her over the months ahead as we prepare for this forthcoming legislation as well as the ongoing tasks of achieving better broadband and mobile coverage and supporting UK broadcasting.”

Dawes added, “Ofcom plays a crucial role in ensuring that people and businesses across the UK get the best from their communications services. It’s a great privilege to be appointed as chief executive at a time of significant change in the sectors Ofcom regulates.”

Dawes has been Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government since 2015. She started her career as an economist and spent 15 years at the Treasury, including as Europe Director. She was Director General of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat at the Cabinet Office between 2011 and 2015, and prior to that she served on the Board of HMRC as Head of Business Tax.


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