Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
0

Media News

George Entwistle 'wanted £450,000 pay-off to leave'

By
Former BBC director general George Entwistle would only resign his post if he was given the £450,000 pay-off entitled had he been sacked, MPs have been told.

BBC Trustee Anthony Fry appeared today (November 22) at the Public Accounts Committee to explain why Entwistle was handed such a large pay-out despite lasting just 54 days in the job.

Fry expressed his "irritation" at having to pay the sum, rather than the £225,000 allowed for a resignation under the contract, but said that he felt it was best to resolve the situation quickly without further damage to the corporation.

New Director General of the BBC George Entwistle poses for media outside new Broadcasting House in Central London.

© Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images



Entwistle resigned from the role of BBC director general earlier in the month after a Newsnight report led to Lord McAlpine being wrongly accused of child abuse.

Prior to resigning on November 10, Entwistle met with the BBC Trust and was made aware that he no longer held its full confidence, according to Fry.

Fry said that Entwistle's lawyers had advised that he would resign for the full-year pay-off, representing a year's salary.

The BBC Trust felt that it was in the best interest of the BBC and licence fee payers to remove him quickly and get acting director general Tim Davie in place.

Fry felt that allowing the process to drag on for several days and potentially having to sack Entwistle would have had done further damage to staff morale at the corporation.

"Did I feel good about it? Absolutely not," he said, but added: "I still think it was the right thing to do."

After agreeing the pay-off, Entwistle announced his departure on that evening, saying that his position as editor-in-chief of the BBC meant he was ultimately responsible for the "unacceptable" Newsnight report.

Lord Patten has also defended the large pay-off, saying that it was done in part because Entwistle will continue to support two BBC enquiries into the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal.

The Public Accounts Committee is also today questioning BBC chief financial officer Zarin Patel over the way the corporation pays some of its top stars.

There have been claims that the BBC was paying hundreds of presenters in a way that aided tax avoidance, although Patel has strongly denied such accusations.

But after being criticised over inconsistencies in its pay practices, the corporation is currently reviewing the freelance contracts of hundreds of on-air employees who are paid through their own companies. It could start shifting some people to staff jobs after the review concludes.

You May Like

Comments

Loading...