George Entwistle, the BBC’s former director general , resigned under fire recently over a two-pronged scandal involving the network’s handling of child abuse charges. The circumstances of the case are disturbing enough: the network allegedly covered up for one prolific abuser and unjustly accused another individual of abuse. But the BBC Trust, the broadcaster’s governing body, made it worse by giving Entwistle an overly generous payout when he left.
That’s a blatant violation of Ahmad’s First Rule of Resigning Under Fire: Don’t let your severance package cause more troubles for you or your former employer.
Granted, the $715,000 payout may not sound like much compared to many corporate severance packages, but Entwistle had only been at the helm for 54 days. And, according to press reports, that amount “was twice the amount to which he had been entitled under executive pay rules.”
In response to the kerfuffle, the BBC Trust justified the payout because Entwistle “will continue to help on BBC business, most specifically the two ongoing [internal] inquiries.”
From the looks of things, the payout is probably only the third or fourth biggest problem the BBC is facing right now. Nevertheless, why pile on?