BBC executive directors collected £318,000 in bonuses despite a year of cutbacks and scandals, the corporation’s annual report showed this week.
BBC Vision director Jana Bennett, who is responsible for the BBC’s television output, collected a £23,000 bonus on top of her £406,000 base pay, a rise of more than £100,000 when other benefits are included.
Ashley Highfield, the outgoing directory of the BBC’s Future Media & Technology division, saw his base pay jump £107,000 to £466,000, despite overspending at bbc.co.uk which led to the Trust freezing new online services until controls are improved.
Director general Mark Thompson waived his own bonus, citing the scale of the disruption and uncertainty facing the corporation, but defended his colleagues’ awards, saying they remain considerably lower than pay for comparable postitions at commerical broadcasters.
Thompson also said Bennett’s bonus had been cut because of the fakery scandals involving some BBC TV shows.
Mark Byford, the deputy director general responsible for BBC News, which was not involved in the fakery or spending rows, took home a £41,000 bonus in addition to a £459,000 salary for the year.