Sir Christopher Bland, who was Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors from 1996 to 2001, has died aged 78. The news came in a tweet from his son, Archie, who is a journalist with The Guardian.
Sir Christopher (Sedbergh and Queen's College, Oxford) was appointed to the BBC by John Major. Predecessor Duke Hussey had served two terms; Labour peer Lord Cocks was in place as vice-chairman, so another Tory was needed. Bland had worked as Chairman at LWT, having previously served as deputy chairman of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, despite not having a telly at time of appointment, aged just 34. His Tory credentials included a spell as chairman of the Bow Group and as GLC member for Lewisham.
Perhaps his most significant move as Chairman was appointing John Birt's successor. He chose Greg Dyke, another former LWT colleague, and also a Labour party donor. The Board of Governors was split on the appointment; internal candidate Tony Hall, now Lord Hall, came off second.