BBC reduces executive bonuses

Director general waives bonus for third year

LONDON -- BBC director general Mark Thompson has waived his bonus for the third year running and the pubcaster's top executives have seen their bonuses slashed 40% following a year that has seen the BBC tainted by the so-called "Crowngate affair" and charity phone-line scandals.

Unveiling the pubcaster's annual report Tuesday, Thompson said that director of television Jana Bennett and director of radio Jenny Abramsky had seen their bonuses slashed by up to 40% because of issues over viewer trust, but he defended the decision to increase their total earnings, which actually rose by about 25% over the year.

"In areas where we had big issues with phone lines and the queen documentary, we decided we should apply significant discounts (to bonuses) of up to 40%," Thompson said.

But he added that BBC executive benefits were set at a much lower level than its main competitors.

"When you actually get out into the external world, some potential candidates almost roll on the floor laughing when you talk about potential levels of pay," he said.

Thompson, who waived his 55,000 pound ($108,500) bonus, earned 816,000 pounds ($1.6 million) in 2007-08, while Bennett earned 536,000 pounds ($1.1 million), up from 433,000 pounds the previous year and Abramsky earned 466,000 pounds ($919,000) up from 359,000 pounds in 2006-07.