Yentob wants new DG to shake up BBC management

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The Independent Online

Alan Yentob, the BBC's creative director, has called on the incoming Director-General (DG), Tony Hall, to shake up his management team and said he expects a small number of staff will be shown to have known about Jimmy Savile's criminal activities at the broadcaster.

Mr Yentob said Mr Hall should "look hard at who the people are around him" in order to lead the organisation out of its current crisis.

He said he expected the new DG to change the 12-strong management board structure introduced by George Entwistle, who scrapped the previous 25-strong BBC direction group for a "radically simplified" leadership model.

In an interview with The Independent, Mr Yentob, who was not part of Entwistle's board, said he hoped to return to the BBC's top table. He also said that he expected Dame Janet Smith's review of the Savile scandal to find that some BBC colleagues had been aware of the presenter's criminal activities.

"I'm sure that at the end of that report we will find that there may have been some people who knew about it in the BBC – I doubt that many did myself – but at the same time this man was clearly a psychopath and managed to deceive a great many people."

Expressing delight at the appointment of the Royal Opera House head, Mr Yentob said: I think that Tony has to look at the structures in the organisation and see if they are fit for purpose and how they might work better and to see where people's talents lie."

Mr Yentob said that Mr Hall's choice of senior colleagues was more important than the structure at the top of the organisation.

"He needs to look hard at who the people are around him, where they are best placed," he said. "It's to do with having the right people and a mix of people who have different skills."

Mr Yentob praised Mr Entwistle for his "gracious" resignation and said that although he "understood" the scrutiny being applied to the former DG's controversial £450,000 pay-off, he believed it was the result of legal negotiation.

"I know there's a lot of fuss about the money and the payout but lawyers get involved in these things," he said. He argued that the £450,000 salary that Mr Hall will receive creates a "low ceiling" for management of such a large organisation.