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Ofcom appoints Dame Melanie Dawes as chief executive

Paul Lipscombe
February 12, 2020

However Ofcom chairman Lord Burns has stepped down from role and will leave by the end of the year

The Ofcom board has announced the appointment of Dame Melanie Dawes as its new chief executive.

Dame Melanie, who has been permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government since 2015 will begin the role from early March.

She has held a number of roles across the Civil Service, in both the public and private sectors and started her career as an economist, spending 15 years as years at the Treasury.

Between 2011 and 2015 Dame Melanie was director general of the economic and domestic affairs secretariat at the Cabinet Office. Prior to this she was head of business tax on the board of HMRC.

Dame Melanie has also held non-executive roles with consumer body Which? and is a trustee of Patchwork Foundation.

Ofcom chairman Lord Burns has welcomed the appointment: “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 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,” added Lord Burns.

Dame Melanie 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.”

Ofcom also revealed that Lord Burns will step down from his role by the end of this year.

It comes as Dame Melanie’s role will likely mean change for the regulator over the next few years, with the Secretary of State insistent on a new Chair being in place to “oversee the successful implementation of any changes in full.

Lord Burns will stay on in the role to help with the transition until the new Chair is in place.

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