Greg Dyke calls for BBC Trust to be scrapped

Ex-director general says BBC bosses are too highly paid

LONDON -- Former BBC director general Greg Dyke has hit out at BBC bosses, saying that they are too highly paid, and reiterated his call for the scrapping of the BBC's oversight committee the BBC Trust.

Speaking at a Royal Television Society event Wednesday night, Dyke -- who was forced to resign in 2004 following a row with the government about how the pubcaster had covered the run-up to the Iraq War -- said that top salaries had virtually doubled since he had been at the helm.

"When I joined I took the salary I was offered, which happened to be exactly the same as my predecessor [John Birt] and when I left my basic salary was something like half what the current director general [Thompson] is now receiving," he told an audience of executives and broadcasters.

He urged incoming ITV chairman Archie Norman and Channel 4 chairman Terry Burns to squash salary levels when they appointed new chief executives for the two broadcasters.

"If this happened, top salaries at the BBC would have to be reduced which is right and proper but even if they don't take action the BBC Trust should. It will mean breaking a few contracts and even paying a few people off if they resist but it needs to be done."

Dyke also dismissed the BBC's regulatory oversight committee, the BBC Trust, as "unduly bureaucratic" and said the £3.8 billion ($6.2 billion) a year pubcaster should be regulated by media watchdog Ofcom.

"The [BBC] Trust is unduly slow and bureaucratic, expensive to run and creates inbuilt conflict within the organization [which] has left the BBC without a supportive board or chairman and the director general without the 'cover' any chief executive needs," said Dyke.

"When the organization is under attack, as it currently is, the chairman isn't free to defend it as he should because he's really the regulator," he added.