Peter Horrocks: The BBC boss with a sharp shock for his reporters


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The Independent Online

Peter Horrocks, the BBC director whose controversial email has angered journalists at the corporation, is under acute pressure to find new ways to "monetise" his department.

Within weeks of him taking over the directorship of the World Service in 2011, the Foreign Office announced a 20 per cent cut to his department's funding. During his tenure he has made stringent cuts to the world news reporting staff and closed a string of foreign language services including the BBC's Albanian, Serbian, Portuguese and Caribbean English outlets.

Unlike journalists, who justify their pay through the quality of their stories, commercial directors are expected to make money for the BBC.

BBC World News Ltd, of which Mr Horrocks is a director, is a business registered at Companies House for the purpose of raising money for the BBC. It is a subsidiary of BBC Commercial Holdings Ltd. In its latest annual report, BBC World News Ltd directors said they expected to deliver a profit this year.

The directors, in addition to their BBC salaries, received payments of more than £500,000 last year. Mr Horrocks's annual salary is £242,000, not including bonuses.

There is concern among BBC journalists that they are effectively being used to generate ideas that will make money for senior colleagues. Mr Horrocks, pictured, is a BBC career man who has worked his way up to one of the corporation's most senior positions. He began his career as a trainee at Newsnight. He has since held a series of prominent editorial positions, including editor of Panorama and Newsnight.

Last week he was on hand to meet the Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who toured the World Service's headquarters at Bush House and complained that its output was significantly reduced. During her 14 years of house arrest she relied on the World Service for news of the outside world.

BREAKING...the email to staff

From: Peter Horrocks

To: Global News All Staff

Subject: Global News' Objectives

Importance: High


Dear all,

As we enter the appraisals period, I wanted to share with you Global

News' objectives for 2012/13. We have arranged the objectives under four key headings:

* Impact – stand-out journalism that no one else can deliver; reach

new audience; develop our partnerships; creative renewal in WI

* Income – exploit new commercial opportunities; maximise the value we

create with our journalism

* Innovation – increase capacity to adapt; move with our markets and

our audiences

* Integration – increase pan-Global News approach to key regions; maximise benefits of working within One BBC.

I would like each of you to contribute to the delivery of these objectives [...] Let us know if you have any ideas on how we can strengthen our commercial focus and grow income. [...] These objectives apply to all parts of Global News: editorial and non-editorial as no matter where you work, you can help meet these objectives.