‘Proud moment,’ says cousin of new BBC chairman

Born in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (then Aurangabad), Shah previously served as the BBC head of current affairs and political programmes.

Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar: “We are proud of him and this is a well-deserved achievement,” said Sujata Kango, cousin of Dr Samir Shah, the India-born British TV executive who has been named as the UK government’s preferred candidate to take over as the new BBC chairman.

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Shah (71), who has had more than four decades of experience in TV production and journalism, has been working tirelessly in his chosen profession, Kango said here in central Maharashtra.

Kango’s father and Shah’s mother were siblings.

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Born in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (then Aurangabad), Shah previously served as the head of current affairs and political programmes at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

“Samir Shah was born in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar in January 1952 as his maternal grandfather was from here. He has been to the city many times, including to attend the marriage ceremony of my daughter. Though he was settled in London, he used to come to India once a year to meet his father,” Kango told PTI on Thursday.

Shah’s family was associated with the Indian film industry, she said. “His father was a film producer and resided in Mumbai. After Samir’s birth, his mother Uma went to Mumbai and later moved to London. My family, including me, has been to London 3 to 4 times and we have met him there,” Kango said.

Kango expressed happiness over the prestigious position Shah will be holding at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). “We are so proud of him and this is a well-deserved achievement. He has been brilliant from the beginning,” she said.

Post-selection by the UK government for the top role, Shah will now be quizzed by cross-party MPs of the House of Commons Media Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny before formally taking charge of the public service broadcaster.

The CEO and owner of Juniper, an independent television and radio production company, Shah has also served as a non-executive director of the BBC between 2007 and 2010. Besides, the Oxford University alumnus is a race relations expert who co-authored the UK government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report in 2021.

Although the BBC is politically independent, its chairperson is appointed by the UK government. PTI AW

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