The ‘outrageous’ £400k salary for the new BBC Head of News has sparked outrage.
Deborah Turness, the BBC’s chief executive of news and current affairs, has been chastised for her “outrageous” decision to hire her at a salary of £400,000 per year.
The decision to increase the annual salary associated with the role by 15%, according to Rebecca Ryan, director of the Defund the BBC campaign, was particularly reprehensible.
Ms Turness, the 54-year-old ITN CEO, was confirmed on Thursday.
She will be paid £60,000 more than her predecessor, Fran Unsworth, who is retiring after four years and leaving the BBC at the end of January.
The level of BBC salaries is a contentious topic, with Match of the Day host Gary Lineker earning £1.3 million per year as the highest earner.
“It is outrageous that the role of BBC Head of News has been given a £60,000 pay increase at a time when the elderly and vulnerable are having to choose between heating, eating, or coughing up for the BBC,” Ms Ryan told this website.
“Deborah Turness played a key role in relaunching Five News on Thursday, according to The Telegraph, which “broke with tradition by encouraging presenters to perch on their desks rather than sit behind them.”
“Perhaps the BBC considers that achievement to be worth nearly half a million pounds per year in taxpayer funds?”
Ms. Turness became the first female president of an American network news division when she joined NBC News in 2013.
She went on to lead the network’s global arm as president.
She was the first woman to hold the position of editor of ITV News for nine years before that.
Ms Unsworth’s deputies Jonathan Munro, deputy director of BBC News, and Jamie Angus, senior controller of BBC News output and commissioning, were rumored to be frontrunners for the job.
“There has never been a greater need for the BBC’s powerful brand of impartial, trusted journalism in the United Kingdom and around the world,” Ms Turness said after the announcement.
“To be asked to lead and grow BBC News at a time of accelerated digital growth and innovation, when its content reaches more global consumers on more platforms than ever before, is a great honor.”
“I’m thrilled Deborah Turness is joining the BBC “Brinkwire Summary News,” said BBC director-general Tim Davie.