Outgoing BBC boss gets an eye-watering reward for failure
Nov 2012 12

The news that outgoing BBC Director General George Entwistle is to pocket a whopping £450,000 pay-out will shock and appal taxpayers everywhere. Mr Entwistle was in his job for just 54 days, meaning that for every day he served, he’ll receive an incredible £8,333. The pay-off is on top of the £877,000 pension pot to which Mr Entwistle is also entitled.

Given that his brief tenure was marked by a series of catastrophic errors, most taxpayers will be left scratching their heads as to why the ex-Director General will be enjoying such a massive payday. The fact is that Mr Entwistle’s brief time at the helm of the BBC saw the corporation lurch from one crisis to another and it is ridiculous that failure should be so generously rewarded.

The BBC’s decision to award the payment is particularly egregious given the outcry that accompanied their awarding Greg Dyke a similarly massive payment of £488,416 when he resigned in the wake of the events that led to the Hutton Inquiry. The BBC’s culture of rewarding incompetence with extravagant pay-offs cannot continue at a time when taxpayers are tightening their belts.

The news has been rightly attacked across the political spectrum. Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman described the pay off as a ‘reward for failure’, while Tory MP John Whittingdale, who chairs the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, summed up the views of many taxpayers when he asked: ‘How can somebody who has had to leave in these circumstances, as a result of a serious failure, nevertheless get a whole year’s salary?’ Those at the BBC responsible for this decision must understand that it will be unfathomable to the public and will harm their efforts to rebuild lost trust.

The BBC Trust is supposed to be looking out for licence fee payers’ interests and ensuring their money is not misspent. As far as this sorry saga goes, it has monumentally failed to do so.

It is especially disappointing that Mr Entwistle is set to take this mammoth pay-off when the early signs were so good about his understanding of the need to be careful when spending other people’s money. Indeed, when he took on the job on a salary 40 per cent lower than  his predecessor and dumped his chauffeur-driven car in favour of using the tube, the TaxPayers’ Alliance made him our Pin-Up of the Month.

  • ALD

    How big was his pension pot a month before his new job. A lot less i expect and it should stay at that level.

  • blarg1987

    “The fact is that Mr Entwistle’s brief time at the helm of the BBC saw
    the corporation lurch from one crisis to another and it is ridiculous
    that failure should be so generously rewarded.”

    Hold on lets be accurate here, the only crisis is with regards to the Jimmy Saville case and the handling of it not lots of crisis in the BBC, also to play devils advocate this is peanuts compared to what executives at News international have recieved and no doubt these pay offs are being offset against their tax liabilities.

    • orac54

      1. News International isn’t funded by the taxpayer
      2. Nobody is accusing anybody at News Int of feral paedophilia
      3. This isn’t about News Int, as you know perfectly well, so stop the “whataboutery”, and defend the BBC with relevant argument, if that’s your position.

  • Steve Robson

    Its very convenient how you at the TPA have forgotten your own role in this debacle. You are the organisation who pushed for lower pay for big jobs and this is a direct result of your meddling. Take responsibility for the chaos you have caused!

  • AlanJ68

    Entwhistle’s pay-off is a disgusting misappropriation of tax payers money, approaching a quarter of a million pounds over the BBC’s contractual obligation. I wonder what the owners of Britain’s SMEs struggling to pay VAT bills and under pressure from HMRC would say. They, (HMRC) appear again to be biting the hand that feeds them, after lifting their heads from the trough. Former Chairman Gray’s pay-off revelations are further evidence of this and salt in an already festering wound.

  • Dave Kerry

    In large measure, Mr Entwistle was exceedingly unfortunate to have been promoted into the Director General’s job immediately before the Savile crisis engulfed the corporation. I think it’s rather early to be certain about the degree to which he is personally responsible. The time for him to stamp his authority on the BBC, and to restructure, was far too brief.

    Having said that, he was right to resign. And what a refreshing change! A small oasis of integrity in a vast desert of dross. Mr Entwistle has set a fine example which I regret is far too infrequently replicated in either of the public or private sectors.

    And as for the pay-out, my initial view is that the contractual sum of six months’ salary should have been paid. However, Lord Patten makes the point that this was a negotiation that took other matters into account.

    Whopping? Depends on your yardstick really. It’s a hell of a lot more than I earn, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the huge sums being paid for abject failure within large private sector organisations.

    I think that TPA might reasonably direct its fire on Amazon, Starbucks, etc., whose tax avoidance makes Mr Entwisle’s payment look like petty cash.

    • Charlotte

      ….”Having said that, he was right to resign. And what a refreshing change! A
      small oasis of integrity in a vast desert of dross. Mr Entwistle has
      set a fine example”……

      It was widely reported that Entwistle had to be “bribed” by Patten to resign – that is why his payoff was double what it should have been.

  • Alan the Brit

    Interesting set of circumstances! BBC Head of News has just stepped aside, albeit temporarily after the Saville affair. However, she has also just won a tribunal against a pensioner, to deny to the public names of attendees at a secret Chatham House Rule meeting on BBC furure Global Warming coverage, (claiming that they were elite scientists), aided & abetted by 6 topflight lawyers at taxpayers expense. This list has now been made public for all to see via others thankgoodness. However, Boaden, has been succeeded by one Fran Unsworth, who also attend the ’06 meeting, as did one George Entwistle!!!! Boaden effectively lied, which implies that Unsworth knew this, & covered it up. Which in turn implies Entwistle also knew, & covered it up! Is this what was once a great globally respected institution has stooped to become? Run by intellectual Onastic elites?

  • Kiaora

    If you do a bad job and leave why should you get paid !! Someone awarding our licese fees to someone else without our say. Very koshti :( ( get rid of them all.

  • Goranista

    We can all rest safe in our beds knowing that poor old George will soon be back in a public sector job after his terrible recent trauma. The taxpayer funded merry-go-round will make absolutely sure of it – perhaps a position at the Equalities quango?

  • mutton

    Do we really need the BBC.
    It is a Socialist construct in the hands of the three socialist political parties and paid for by those that it harms.
    Get rid of it down to the teaboy and no pensions whatsoever.

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