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Mark Thompson announces reduced BBC Executive Board


Significant changes to the structure of the BBC’s Executive Board have been announced this morning by Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General.

This follows the announcement on Tuesday 12 October that the post of Deputy Director-General is to close and Mark Byford is to leave the BBC next year after 32 years distinguished service.

The purpose of the restructuring is to further streamline management and management boards at the BBC and to make further progress towards the BBC’s target of reducing its senior manager pay bill by 25 per cent by the end of next year.

The Director-General announced this morning that the post of Director, BBC Marketing, Communications and Audiences (MC&A) is also to close, and Sharon Baylay is to leave the BBC.

Peter Salmon, Director of BBC North, and Lucy Adams, Director of BBC People, will continue in their roles but will step down from the Executive Board and join the new BBC Operating Committee.

The BBC’s MC&A and People divisions will cease to be stand-alone divisions and will both join an expanded Operations group led by Chief Operating Officer, Caroline Thomson. This will enable the BBC to realise further efficiency savings in support and management costs.

It was also announced on Tuesday that Helen Boaden, Director of BBC News, is to join the restructured Executive Board to represent BBC journalism at the UK and international level and for the English regions, following the closure of the post of Deputy Director-General.

Writing to staff, Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General said: “My objective is simplification – simplifying reporting lines, simplifying structures and reducing the number of senior managers. No one should doubt our continuing belief in the importance of the work done by these divisions and the crucial role they have to play in the future of the BBC.”

The reduction in the number of Executive Directors on the Executive Board was approved by the BBC Trust.

The Executive Directors of the BBC sitting on the Executive Board from April will be:

Director-General (Mark Thompson) (Chair)
Chief Operating Officer (Caroline Thomson)
Director, BBC Vision (Jana Bennett)
Director, BBC Audio & Music (Tim Davie)
Director, BBC Future Media & Technology (Erik Huggers)
Director, BBC News (Helen Boaden)
Group Finance Director (Zarin Patel)


1. In this year’s MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, Mark Thompson said: "This spring we published Putting Quality First. It came about because the BBC Trust, I and my senior colleagues shared a conviction that, though we’ve achieved a lot already, when you look at the sheer pace of change in media, when you look at the new financial context in which the BBC and the UK find themselves, there is still a massive amount to do.

"So over the coming months, far from slackening, you’ll see the rate of change and reform at the BBC go faster and deeper.

"One of the central planks of Putting Quality First is to guarantee to spend 90 per cent of the BBC’s public service income on the task of commissioning and making great content and getting it to the public. At a time when other broadcasters are struggling to maintain their origination budgets, it’s critical that the BBC spends as much of the licence fee as possible on high quality content.

"But to achieve that, the BBC will have to become leaner than it’s ever been before. As a proportion of spend, overheads are around half what they were in the 1990s. To hit our target, they will need to fall by at least another quarter.

"Expect to see further radical change to the shape of the organisation.

"Simpler structures, fewer layers, fewer management boards. We are committed to reduce senior manager numbers by a fifth by the end of next year. That’s a minimum. If we can go further, we will – and we will look for reductions at every level in the organisation up to and including the Executive Board.

“Expect further significant movement on executive pay. The BBC does need to compete for the right people – but we also need to recognise how much the external context has changed both in commercial media and across the public sector. By the end of next year, the total senior management pay bill will reduce by at least a quarter. The actions we’ve already taken on pay and bonuses and a review of senior pension arrangements right now means that many of the BBC’s top managers – including myself – will see their total pay fall, not by five or 10 per cent, but by much more.”

2. Sharon Baylay was appointed Director, MC&A in May 2009. She was previously General Manager, of Microsoft Online Services Division UK. She is member of the BBC Executive Board and a non-executive director of BBC Worldwide.


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