Former BBC director-general Greg Dyke has slammed the cost-cutting drive put in place by his successor Mark Thompson, claiming it is unnecessary and is “destroying the morale” of the corporation.
He also believes the redundancies will affect programme quality. “If you make 15 per cent cuts across an organisation, it is hard to see how you make programmes better.”
Dyke, who chairs the Marketing Week 2005 television conference in Paris this week, says in an exclusive interview with MW that the cuts – which will lead to 6,000 job losses across the BBC – are not needed as there is no financial crisis facing the corporation.
When Dyke left the BBC after being fired in January 2004, he says there was no financial crisis looming, “and there isn’t today,” he adds. In fact, he claims, the redundancies will cost money to execute.
“When the BBC started doing what it is doing, I phoned the finance director at the BBC and said: ‘Is there a crisis?’ He said: ‘No’,” says Dyke, adding: “I wouldn’t have done it that way, I don’t see the point of destroying the morale of an organisation.”
In his time as director-general, between 2000 and 2004, Dyke put in place his own cost-cutting drive, but he says this was done differently: “We reduced overheads from 24 per cent to 12 per cent and we tried to do it cleverly and with humanity.” His plan was to end the Charter period with neither excess cash nor debts.
He says that the BBC is “clearly an unhappy place at the moment”, a situation mirrored at its competitor ITV.