BBC News Director steps down and Trust under fire in wake of DG resignation
Editor | 12-11-2012
Helen Boaden,Director of BBC News has stepped down from her job and BBC Trust chief Lord Chris Patten has become the latest lightening rod for criticism in the wake of the resignation of BBC Director General George Entwistle.
The UK media and political world is scenting blood following the shock resignation of Entwhistle who quit after a series of editorial blunders by flagship news programme Newsnight, which saw the shelving of a programme that would have revealed BBC legend Jimmy Savile as a paedophile and, in what really sealed the DG’s fate, wrongly implicated a former leading politician in the Thatcher government as a child abuser.
As chair of the BBC Trust, the body that has a basic mission statement of getting the best out of the BBC for Licence Fee paters, Patten was responsible for the hiring of the former DG. The appointment was a surprise to many analysts who felt there were other more suitable candidates for the job than the hapless Entwistle who has worked at the corporation for 24 years in which time, ironically, he had been editor of Newsnight.
In addition to facing calls over his basic judgement in making him DG, Patten is now under fire for signing off Entwistle’s severance package which will amount to a payoff of £450,000 in lieu of notice representing a full year’s salary for the job for which he did for 54 days. It has emerged that under the terms of his contract, Entwistle was entitled to only six-month’s worth of salary as a pay-off.
The move has been largely condemned by politicians across the political spectrum in the UK. John Whittingdale, chairman of the UK’s Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee demanded the BBC Trust justify the payoff. “I would want to know from the trust why they think that's appropriate. I find it very difficult to see a justification for that amount of money to be paid to somebody who has had to resign in these circumstances," he told UK media channels.
Boaden was due to be interviewed in her role in in the perceived massive failures of judgement As Rapid TV News went to press, Boden was believed to still be a BBC employee but without any managerial responsibility for news, and that she had "stepped down" from her role along with her deputy.