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LONDON — New BBC director general Tony Hall on Thursday proposed a severance pay cap of $230,000 (£150,000) for senior executives at the U.K. public broadcaster, which would put the company in line with caps for civil servants in Britain.
The cap would take effect as of September and comes after criticism about the $695,000 (£450,000) severance package that previous director general George Entwistle received after quitting his job after only 54 days amid the Jimmy Savile scandal late last year.
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Under Hall’s proposals, changes would be made to “redundancy, severance entitlement and notice periods for all senior managers, including the BBC director general,” the broadcaster said.
“The BBC cannot be deaf to concerns about BBC staff payoffs,” said Hall. “These are difficult economic times for people across the country, and the BBC is not immune from them. The financial settlements of the past cannot be justified in the future. We will consult on these proposals over the coming weeks, but I believe they represent a fair way forward for staff and for license fee payers.”
The proposals would entitle senior managers in the case of layoffs to one month’s pay for each year of service up to a maximum of 12 months’ salary or £150,000 — whichever is lower. BBC executive board members would have their notice period reduced from 12 months to six months.
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The BBC announced the proposal as Hall was starting a question-and-answer session in the British parliament — his first major public appearance since taking over the public broadcaster at the start of the month. During the early part of the session, BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten said the reaction to the appointment of TV industry veteran Hall was “a sigh of relief.”
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