Dawes tipped to lead Ofcom as regulator announces interim chief exec

Dawes reportedly selected to replace Sharon White, who leaves this month

Melanie Dawes. Photo: MHCLG

Ofcom has appointed an interim chief executive to take over when Sharon White steps down this month, amid reports that Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Melanie Dawes will take on the permanent position after the general election.

The telecoms regulator announced yesterday that Jonathan Oxley, group director for competition and a member of Ofcom’s board, would become interim chief executive at the end of this month while it finalised the appointment of White’s replacement.

White, a former Treasury second permanent secretary and No.10 Policy Unit adviser, is leaving to head up the John Lewis Partnership, it was announced in June.


The announcement of Oxley’s appointment came as the Guardian reported that Dawes, Whitehall’s longest-serving female perm sec, had been selected for the £315,000-a-year chief exec role.

Ofcom has said it will announce White's replacement after the general election on 13 December. The role needs ministerial approval and therefore could be affected by the outcome of the election.

Dawes, who was appointed civil service diversity and inclusion champion in April, became perm sec at what was then DCLG in March 2015. Before joining the department she was director general of the Cabinet Office Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat, having previously worked at HM Revenue and Customs and the Treasury, latterly as HMRC’s director general for business tax.

Ofcom confirmed that Oxley did not apply for the permanent chief exec post. In a statement, the regulator said the recruitment process "continues and the Ofcom board expects to announce an appointment after the general election".

The watchdog's chair, Lord Burns, said Oxley was “is extremely well equipped to step up to provide important continuity for Ofcom and the sectors it regulates” – which include broadcast media, broad

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