Developing

BBC's HR Boss Quits Following Payoff Row

The BBC's HR director is to quit her £320,000-a-year post in the wake of a row over bumper payoffs handed to departing executives on her watch.

Lucy Adams will leave at the end of the financial year next March after working her notice period and without any severance pay.

She was forced to reject accusations the BBC was engaged in "cronyism" during an appearance before the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee last month.

A National Audit Office (NAO) report had revealed huge payments - some totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds - were made even when departing executives were not entitled to the money.

Among them was the £450,000 handed to former director-general George Entwistle, who stood down after a few weeks in the job.

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten later admitted Mr Entwistle was paid for an extra 20 days' work to help manage the transition to a new director-general but "as it happened he wasn't required to do anything".

According to the NAO, in the three years up to last December, the BBC spent £25m on severance payments for 150 high-ranking staff.

Chief operating officer Caroline Thomson left last year with £670,000 - more than twice her salary - while former deputy director-general Mark Byford was paid £949,000 when he departed two years ago.

Ex-BBC2 controller Roly Keating returned a £375,000 payoff after learning it had not been properly authorised.

During last month's hearing, Ms Adams admitted to MPs there was a culture at the corporation "which clearly did not deliver value for money".

Commenting on her decision to leave, Ms Adams said: "I have been discussing my decision to leave the BBC with (director-general) Tony Hall for some time now. By next spring I will have been at the BBC for five years which feels like a good time to try something new.

"It has been a great privilege to lead the BBC's People division. The BBC is a unique institution and I am extremely proud of the work the team has achieved in spite of the challenges along the way.

"I look forward to continuing that work with Tony and the executive board in the coming months."

Mr Hall said: "I am enormously grateful to Lucy for all her work and I will be very sorry to see her go next spring.

"She has done a great job and contributed a huge amount to the BBC.

"I am pleased that, in the short term at least, she will continue to help me simplify the way we do business in the BBC so that we can spend more time concentrating on our programmes and services."