Mark Thompson: 'BBC acted promptly on executive pay concerns'

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The Independent Online

Director General Mark Thompson has defended the BBC from accusations that it failed to act quickly enough on the issue of executive and talent pay.

The corporation has come under fire in recent years for the pay packets of its top stars and executives.

But Mr Thompson told the Royal Television Society International Conference: "The BBC was one of the very first public bodies to start moving on executive pay, freezing pay, stopping bonuses."

He pointed out that the policy "has consequences ... we just lost our Controller of BBC1 (Jay Hunt) to Channel 4".

He added: "We have acted promptly on that issue."

Mr Thompson said about executive pay: "When you look at the concerns that the public raise about the BBC, when they're given a list these don't rate high."

He added that it was "wrong" to suggest the corporation is relenting too much to its critics by freezing the licence fee for two years and allowing the National Audit Office full access to its accounts.