Why was Entwistle paid so much and why has no one been fired?

Dec 20, 2012

MPs attack excessive £450,000 pay-off to short-lived DG who presided over a culture of chaos at the BBC

GEORGE ENTWISTLE, the director general of the BBC, who presided over a culture of "chaos and confusion" after the broadcaster shelved an investigation into sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile, should not have been paid £450,000 when he resigned after just 54 days in the job, MPs said yesterday.

The pay-off – twice what was specified in his contract - was a "cavalier" use of public money, the Commons Public Accounts Committee said. Its chair, Margaret Hodge, said Entwistle had been rewarded for failure and the sum was "out of line" with public expectations.

Lord (Chris) Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, justified the payment at the time by saying it was necessary to ensure Entwistle left the job quickly and so it was the best option in the circumstances, the BBC reports.

Entwistle was one of the main targets for criticism in the scathing report released yesterday into the crisis that enveloped the BBC after the shelving of a Newsnight investigation into sexual abuses by Savile, the Jim'll Fix It entertainer.

The report's author, former Sky News chief Nick Pollard, is highly critical of Entwistle's leadership. Hepoints out he was sent an email two years ago warning him about Savile's "darker side" but failed to read it.

The Daily Telegraph expresses incredulity today that the BBC has "failed to sack a single executive" despite admitting that a lack of leadership had left it in a state of chaos.

Steven Mitchell, deputy head of news, resigned yesterday, but two other executives explicitly criticised by Pollard – Newsnight editor Peter Rippon and Radio 5 Live chief Adrian van Klaveran - will be moved to new, senior positions within the corporation. Helen Boaden, the BBC's director of news who was criticised for the "casual" way she raised the issue of Newsnight's Savile programme with Entwistle at an awards lunch, will be back at her job today.

Tim Davie, the BBC's acting director-general, has defended his decision not to sack any managers. He says the moves now in place were a "fair and proportionate" response to the Pollard report and a second report by Ken MacQuarrie into the botched Newsnight report of 2 November that implicated a senior Tory party fundraiser in child sexual abuse.

Davie said last night: "Success for me is not necessarily how many people I dismiss, it's about making a fair and proper decision on the facts in-front of me".

The Guardian praises Pollard's report for the "lucid, compelling" language it uses to paint a "picture of modern dysfunction worthy of Francis Bacon's Screaming Pope". The paper concludes that the BBC has its work cut out to restore public faith in its journalism and "they may need to bring in new blood to do that".

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Self regarding and inward looking jobsworths - comfortable in their tax-payer funded sinecures and unlikely to be challenged by Patten, who seems to be incapable of understanding the anger of the general public towards this cabal of left-leaning inadequates.