Former BBC director general Greg Dyke tried to get his job back a week after being sacked by the BBC Board of Governors.
This is revealed by the minutes of a second meeting of the BBC Board of Governors – on February 5 – which has also been released as a result of this week's Freedom of Information Tribunal ruling.
The minutes state:
Richard Ryder [acting chair] asked Simon Milner [the secretary] to table a letter received at Simon's home that morning which Greg Dyke had asked be considered by the Board at this meeting. Governors having had an opportunity to read the letter, Richard asked Simon to state what Greg had said he wanted from the Board.
Simon quoted Greg directly in saying: "I believe I have been mistreated and I want to be reinstated."
The letter alleged that a strategy had been agreed between Gavyn Davies [former chair of governors], Pauline Neville-Jones [board member] and Greg Dyke on the evening of 27 February that Gavyn Davies would resign, and that Greg Dyke would receive the support of Pauline in a subsequent vote of confidence by the Board.
Richard said that he had asked the BBC's lawyers and Stephen Dando to advise on the terms of a response, assuming the Board would confirm its decision in respect of Greg. A draft response was also tabled.
Richard stressed that he had never canvassed Governors for their opinions before the publication of the Hutton Report in the knowledge that he might have to act as an independent Chairman. He also confirmed that when asked by Greg, before Hutton was published, whether he felt his (Greg's) resignation was necessary, he replied that he must reserve his position until hearing the views of the Board.
Pauline stated that she had not been party to an understanding with Gavyn and Greg as described in Greg's letter. She explained that a private meeting had taken place on that evening after she had returned following an external reception. Gavyn had said that he thought his position was unsustainable and that he would have to resign, and Greg had said he thought similarly and would have to offer to go. She had advised both of them not to take precipitate action after the Report was published.
With hindsight, Pauline suggested that Gavyn and Greg may have reached an agreement of their own, and by describing it to her and not being contradicted, they had implicitly assumed that she concurred with it. She said that there had been no question to her about whether she agreed with their assessment. She made it clear that even had she understood what it now seems Gavyn and Greg were driving at, she would never have sought to prejudge or predetermine the decision of the Board on such a matter by reaching an understanding in this manner.
There were a range of initial reactions from Governors to the letter, draft response and Pauline's statement. Pauline's integrity and professionalism were commended by several Governors. There was some disquiet, however, about this turn of events.
Some Governors said they were minded to re-examine the events of the previous week, to ensure that the Board did not take a decision with insufficient information. One Governor expressed concerned about the notion of a deal being struck outside the Board Room, but took the view that even if such an understanding had been reached there was no evidence of it influencing the Governors' discussion or decisions on 28 January over Greg's position. Other Governors confirmed their belief that the Board was right to accept Greg's offer of resignation.
In spite of the wide range of initial views, the Governors were unanimous in the view that reversing their decision and therefore reinstating Greg Dyke as DG was simply untenable. One Governor summed this up by arguing that such a response would look ridiculous and would create anarchy in the organisation. The Board resolved therefore to respond firmly to Greg to confirm its previous decision to accept his offer of resignation.