BBC mandarin chosen to lead ASA into future

One of the BBC’s top administrators is to be the next director-general of the Advertising Standards Authority.

One of the BBC’s top administrators is to be the next

director-general of the Advertising Standards Authority.



Christopher Graham, currently the BBC secretary and head of its internal

complaints unit, will succeed Matti Alderson, who has opted to step down

from the job after ten years next April, when her contract expires.



A former television journalist and producer, Graham, 49, emerged this

week as the choice of the AA Council, ending a search for a new chief

which began in the summer.



His appointment comes as the ASA grapples with the increasingly

difficult job of policing ads at a time of growing media convergence,

giving greater opportunities for rogue overseas-based advertisers to

reach UK consumers.



At the same time, the incorporation of the European Convention of Human

Rights into UK law may result in growing numbers of legal challenges to

ASA rulings.



Graham will also be expected to play a leading role in the protection of

the self-regulatory system against attempts by politicians in London and

Brussels to impose statutory controls.



Graham, a history graduate, joined the BBC as a trainee journalist in

1973. Since then, he has been a TV current affairs producer, deputy

editor of The Money Programme and managing editor of BBC News

programmes. He has also worked on Channel 4’s A Week in Politics.



As BBC secretary for the past three years, he has worked closely with

the BBC chairman, Sir Christopher Bland, and its director-general, Sir

John Birt, while assisting the governors in their role of overseeing the

corporation.



Lord Rodgers, who quits as ASA chairman at the end of next year,

commented: ’I believe we have chosen an outstanding director-general to

lead the authority into the next century.’



Graham professed himself ’delighted and excited’ to be joining the

ASA.



He added: ’Self-regulation remains the best means of ensuring high

standards in advertising and I intend to ensure that the system remains

effective in a changing and challenging media world.’



Alderson, who began her career at the ASA as a secretary, will remain

during a short handover period. She said: ’I need a fresh challenge and

the ASA needs fresh blood. I’m not going out to grass - unless a lottery

win intervenes!’



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