The BBC spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of licence payers' money last year awarding its top staff bonus payments and giving lavish pay-offs to senior staff who found jobs elsewhere.
The corporation's annual report, published yesterday, lists an array of salary top-ups, including £91,000 for the director general, Greg Dyke, in addition to his £347,000 salary. His senior lieutenants were also given big bonuses by the BBC board, chaired by Sir Christopher Bland, an old friend of Mr Dyke from their days together at ITV.
The head of finance, John Smith, received a £64,000 bonus; Mark Byford, head of the World Service, was given £69,000; Jenny Abramsky, head of BBC Radio, received £42,000; and Alan Yentob, head of BBC films, drama and children's programmes, got £52,000. Large pay-offs were also made to colleagues of the former director general, John Birt, even though most of them resigned to go to other well-paid jobs rather than work under the new regime.
Tony Hall, who left as head of news to go to the Royal Opera House, received £24,539; Patricia Hodgson, who went to run the Independent Television Commission, was given a £70,489 golden goodbye.
The corporation's top PR man, Colin Browne, head of corporate affairs, joined the big pay-off recipients when he resigned in March 2000, taking £288,954. Matthew Bannister, head of marketing, resigned with a £199,550 pay-off.
However, Mr Dyke admitted yesterday that viewing figures for BBC1 had gone down last year, as had the viewing audience share. He blamed the extra channels available to viewers switching to digital TV.
Sir Christopher defended the bonus payments. When asked to justify them, he said: 'There is a selection of criteria. These are weighted payments. The targets include the reach of our various channels. Most modern organisations now pay bonuses. The BBC is quite right to do this. It is in line with the best practice.'
He added that it would be 18 months before audiences felt the benefit of new investment in BBC1.
-- Today's Independent...
What has Dyke done to deserve all that extra cash!?
And notice the 18 months thing... basically in 18 months we will have all forgotten about this so the fact that they have spent millions will not be noticed, it's all a con I tell you