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
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
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
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