BBC Rewards Bosses' Bloopers With Average 17% Pay Hike

10 July 2008

The government-appointed BBC Trust, which exercises oversight of the broadcaster, rewarded twelve months of world-beating management ineptitude and arrogance by giving director-general Mark Thompson (pictured) and nine senior colleagues a collective pay rise of 17%.

Their pay award, mulcted from licence-payers' fees, contrasts starkly with the average 4% pocketed by the majority of BBC staff.

The Thompson Ten collectively presided over a year marred by a seemingly endless stream of faked or rigged phone-in competitions, budget overspends and 'obscene' covert fees paid to a handful of the broadcaster's most banal onscreen celebrities.

Thompson, the BBC's highest-paid employee, saw his annual salary in the year to 30 March upped to £816,000 ($1.61m; €1.0m) from £788,000. He did, however, have the grace to decline his bonus – worth in the region of £60,000.

No such self-denial was evident among the other executives who shared a pot totalling £318,000 – seemingly awarded for drawing breath.

Topping the poverty end of the salary scale was Jana Bennett, director of vision [don't ask], whose pay increased 24% to £536,000.

Mark Byford, the deputy director general, responsible for the BBC's journalism, took home £513,000, an increase of 17%.

While departing director of audio Jenny Abramsky enjoyed a 27%  salary hike to more than £419,000 – plus a valedictory pension worth £190,000 a year.

Invited to comment on the BBC's generosity with public money Thompson kept a straight face: "When you actually get out into the external world, some potential candidates almost roll on the floor laughing when you talk about potential levels of pay."

He added that Bennett and Abramsky did not receive "40% cent of their bonus to reflect what had happened during the year".

The pay data was published Tuesday in the BBC's annual report – which mercifully also revealed some good news.

Pre-tax profits at BBC Worldwide hit  a record £112.5 million, up year-on-year by  2.2%, although its performance was boosted by a £10.5 million gain from disposals.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff