Gavyn Davies

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Gavyn Davies
Gavyn Davies.jpg
Davies in 2011
Born (1950-11-27) 27 November 1950 (age 69)
Alma materSt. John's College, Cambridge
Known forFormer Chairman of the BBC
Political partyLabour Party (until 2001)
Spouse(s)Sue Nye
Children1 daughter, 2 sons

Gavyn Davies, OBE (born 27 November 1950) is a former Goldman Sachs partner and multi-millionaire who was the chairman of the BBC from 2001 until 2004.[1] On 28 January 2004 he announced that he was resigning his BBC post following the publication of the Hutton Inquiry report which heavily criticised the organisation.

Early life and business career[edit]

Davies was born in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, where his father was head teacher at what was then its only black high school, before moving to the UK in 1961.[2] He was educated at Taunton's School, Southampton, St. John's College, Cambridge and Balliol College, Oxford, where he conducted research. He worked in Harold Wilson's Policy Unit from 1974–76 and then as an economic advisor to James Callaghan from 1976–1979. Afterwards he had stints as Chief Economist at Simon & Coates and Goldman Sachs. He was later promoted to international managing director of the bank. During this time he also served as one of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's "wise men" during the 1992–1997 Parliament. Davies repeatedly came under criticism for his ties to Enron.[3]

BBC period[edit]

In 1999 he chaired an inquiry into the future funding of the BBC. His suggestions – to sell off a portion of BBC Worldwide (the corporation's commercial wing) and to raise the television licence fee by around 20% in order to fund new digital channels - were swiftly rejected by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.

In January 2001 he was appointed a vice-chairman of the BBC. He was promoted to chairman just 10 months later for a five-year term after being recommended by Tessa Jowell. Upon becoming Chairman Davies resigned his membership of the Labour Party.[4] In January 2004, he resigned after the publication of the Hutton Inquiry. It heavily criticised the BBC's news reporting that Davies had supported. In his resignation statement he said he was "happy to accept ... ultimate responsibility" for everything the BBC does. However, he raised questions about the conclusions of Lord Hutton, including the question of the use of unverifiable sources and possible threats to the freedom of the press.

Davies has in the past donated part of his wealth to the Labour Party of whom he had been a long-term supporter. His appointment as BBC chairman sparked allegations of cronyism from Opposition political parties - Davies' wife Sue Nye was a private secretary of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the pair are known to be good friends. Defenders of the appointment pointed out that Davies had been selected by a panel independent of Government. It has been suggested that the behaviour of Davies and Greg Dyke during the David Kelly affair was in part due to a wish to demonstrate their independence of government. Since his resignation, he has become somewhat of a critic of the then Labour government.

Post BBC career[edit]

In 2005 he set up a $1.35 Billion hedge fund to invest in macroeconomic situations. He wrote a weekly column on mathematics and statistics, Gavyn Davies does the maths, on Thursdays for The Guardian newspaper.

He is currently working as a founding partner of Active Private Equity, Anthos Capital,[5] and Prisma Capital Partners, as well as Chairman of Fulcrum Asset Management.

Since August 2010 he has written a blog on macroeconomics for Financial Times.

Personal life[edit]

Davies and his wife live in Wandsworth, having moved there to give their daughter the opportunity to attend a better school.[6] They also have two sons and a further home in Croyde, Devon.[7][8]


  1. ^ Winnett, Robert (29 April 2010). "General Election 2010: Sue Nye is the aide blamed for Gordon Brown's 'bigoted' gaffe". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  2. ^ 'He's good. And very rich...bastard', The Guardian, 18 March 1999
  3. ^ Walters, Simon. "Prince Charles took £1 million gift from Enron". London: Daily Mail UK. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  4. ^ "TV AND RADIO | Gavyn Davies is BBC chair". BBC News. 19 September 2001. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  5. ^ "People". Anthos Capital. Archived from the original on 14 August 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  6. ^ Culture (25 September 2001). "No crony bone in my body". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Entertainment | Gavyn Davies: Outspoken defence". BBC News. 28 January 2004. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  8. ^ Rees, Caroline (19 October 2005). "Cream Of The Country: Croyde - House & Home - Property". London: The Independent. Retrieved 10 September 2013.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Baroness Young
Vice Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors
Succeeded by
The Lord Ryder of Wensum
Preceded by
Christopher Bland
Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors
Succeeded by
The Lord Ryder of Wensum (Acting)