New BBC chief takes 27% pay cut as former DG walks away with £190,000

Former BBC director-general Lord Hall took home £190,000 in the final five months of his time running the broadcaster, according to its annual report.

The organisation also paid new DG Tim Davie, who replaced Lord Hall in September, £471,000 in the 12 months to the end of March – seven months as DG and five months in his previous job running BBC Studios.

Mr Davie’s pay packet was significantly down on the £642,000 he was paid at commercial division BBC Studios, due to a £200,000 bonus received a year earlier.

But despite the fall, the new DG and new chairman Richard Sharp continue to enjoy the benefits of being the only BBC workers entitled to a car and chauffeur – as their predecessors had, the report shows.

Mr Davie is understood to have agreed to take the same pay as Lord Hall for his first year in charge of the corporation, but will see his salary and benefits rise to £525,000 from next year.

The BBC also said its gender pay gap continues to improve, with a median average of 5.2% gap between men and women. This compared with a 6.2% gap a year earlier.

However, the report showed that the pay gap at the bottom end of the BBC pay structure remains the highest, with a gap of 6.5%. Management said they needed to do more to recruit and promote women into leadership positions.

The BBC’s black, Asian and minority ethnic pay gap remains close to zero, it added, although bosses admitted they needed to do more to improve representation of those groups in leadership roles.

Although the BBC is funded mainly through the licence fee, it also has commercial arms that generate revenue.

Top 10 highest BBC on-air salaries 2020/21
(PA Graphics)

According to the report, BBC Commercial Holdings saw underlying pre-tax profits of £144 million in the last financial year – down 23.8%.

BBC Studios, which Mr Davie previously ran, saw a fall in profits of 17% and 10% fall in revenues to £1.26 billion due to the pandemic hitting productions and advertising sales.

Its Global News division sank to a £9 million loss, compared with a £2 million profit a year earlier, and BBC Studioworks, which provides edit facilities, saw profits down £2 million to just £6 million.