BBC cuts top managers' bonuses

About 400 executives affected by decision

LONDON -- Describing it as "a tough message for all of us," BBC director general Mark Thompson on Tuesday told BBC top managers that their bonuses will be axed and a pay freeze instituted until "at least" July 2010.

The cuts affect about 400 senior managers, who will face a compensation cut of up to about 12% without the bonus payments. But in an e-mail to staff, Thompson said the BBC will still maintain modest pay increases for more junior staffers. The move is expected to save about 20 million pounds ($28 million).

The move will affect executives including BBC1 controller Jay Hunt and head of radio Mark Damazer. BBC bosses including Thompson, deputy director general Mark Byford and director of vision Jana Bennett already had waived their bonuses for the coming year.

"The directors and I discussed this very carefully before concluding it was not appropriate to award an increase in pay or award a bonus this year to the senior managers of the organization -- but that we should continue with a modest pay review for the majority of the BBC's employees," Thompson told BBC staff.

"I recognize that the position on senior management pay, and on bonuses across much of the BBC, is a tough message for all of us, but I think that all of you will know the considerations behind it," he added.