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BBC directors have raised concerns that chair Richard Sharp’s position is becoming untenable after they were briefed on the investigation into his appointment, adding to pressure for his resignation as early as Friday.

The BBC board met this week to discuss the independent inquiry by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments into Sharp’s selection as chair that has been carried out by Adam Heppinstall KC. The results of the investigation are likely to be published on Friday.

Sharp’s appointment by Boris Johnson as chair of the British broadcaster in 2021 has been undermined by accusations of conflict of interest.

The BBC board has no formal ability to act against its chair but can express opinions about its confidence and concerns in the long-term leadership of the broadcaster. The decision to choose and replace the chair of the BBC ultimately lies with the government.

Those familiar with the discussions said the board viewed the situation as increasingly difficult after being briefed on the investigation as well as the “noise and problems caused for the BBC” from the controversy over Sharp’s selection.

One person familiar with the situation said there was also recognition of Sharp’s achievements while in the post, but that this may not be enough to change the situation.

The board was also clear that it was Sharp’s decision whether he wanted to stay or go, the person added. Sharp had not tendered his resignation on Thursday night but people close to the discussions described it as increasingly possible given the continued “ill will and anger” from the controversy.

They cautioned that Sharp could still continue as chair, however, and that no decision had been made.

One said that Sharp also recognised that the controversy was causing a distraction to the BBC at a time when it was attempting to set out its long-term digital future.

The Heppinstall investigation has looked at whether the appointment process was conducted in line with the governance code for public appointments.

The former Goldman Sachs banker has been drawn into the scrutiny of a deal to arrange a guarantee agreement on a loan of up to £800,000 for the then prime minister Boris Johnson prior to his appointment.

Candidates for the BBC chair are required to declare any matters that “could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest”. Sharp has denied wrongdoing and has refused to quit, arguing that he neither facilitated nor arranged financing for Johnson. Sharp has insisted that he was appointed on merit.

The guarantee for the loan was provided by Sam Blyth, a Canadian businessman and distant cousin of Johnson. Sharp has said he put Blyth in touch with Simon Case, the cabinet secretary and the UK’s most senior civil servant.

MPs on the culture committee found that he had made “significant errors of judgment” when failing to declare his role in the facilitation of the loan.

Senior MP Damian Green said Sharp “chose not to tell either the appointment panel or our committee about his involvement in the facilitation of a loan to Boris Johnson . . . Such a significant error of judgment meant we were not in the full possession of the facts when we were required to rule on his suitability for the role of BBC chair.”

Sharp — a major Tory party donor who was on the board of the Centre for Policy Studies conservative think-tank until he took the job at the BBC — has been chair of the BBC’s board since February 2021.

He began at JPMorgan before making his career at investment bank Goldman Sachs, where he was the boss of prime minister Rishi Sunak.

The BBC said that it would not comment on speculation. A spokesman for Sharp declined to comment. The government declined to comment.

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