BBC lays off £475,000-a-year deputy director general Mark Byford

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The Independent Online

The BBC's deputy director general, Mark Byford, is to be made redundant as part of a move to reduce its 10-strong executive board, members of which have long been accused of earning excessive salaries.

Mark Thompson, director general, will announce today that Mr Byford, a BBC employee for 32 years and occasional interim director general, will lose his job and will not be replaced.

As well as being paid his salary of £475,000 a year until he leaves in 2011, Mr Byford is expected to receive a redundancy payment of between £800,000 and £900,000.

The 52-year-old has a £3.7m pension pot, from which he can expect £215,000 a year when he reaches retirement age.

In August, Mr Thompson brought forward by a year a pledge to cut senior managerial costs by 25 per cent.

Sharon Baylay, head of marketing and communications, and Lucy Adams, human resources director, will also leave the board. They will retain their roles but report to Caroline Thomson, chief operating officer.

Yorkshire-born Mr Byford is popular among BBC staff. In 2004, he served as interim director general, after Greg Dyke resigned in the wake of the Hutton report, which claimed the BBC had misreported the official justification for the invasion of Iraq.

He has also managed the BBC's responses to several scandals, including the "Crowngate" affair of 2007, in which a trailer for a documentary was edited in such a way as to suggest that the Queen had stormed out of a photography session. She was in fact on her way in.

In an announcement to staff today, Mr Thompson is expected to praise Mr Byford, saying that he had "never had a closer or more supportive relationship with any colleague". Within the corporation, speculation concerning Mr Byford's departure has been rife for some time, where his name has become linked with the issues of pay, expenses and pensions.

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