• BBC HR director quits following golden goodbye row

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  • 30 Aug 2013
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But Lucy Adams says exit ‘planned for some time’

The BBC’s HR director Lucy Adams is set to leave the broadcaster in March next year “to try something new” just a month after MPs questioned her about excessive redundancy pay at the corporation.

However, Adams, who will work her full notice period and will not receive a severance payment, said that she had been planning the move “for some time”.

In a statement she said: "By next spring I will have been at the BBC for five years which feels like a good time to try something new. The BBC is a unique institution and I am extremely proud of the work the team has achieved in spite of the challenges along the way.

"I look forward to continuing that work with Tony [Hall] and the executive board in the coming months."

In July, Adams was forced to defend HR’s role in the row over severance payouts after it emerged that about £25million had been paid to just 150 departing executives, some of whom had not been asked to work their notice periods. Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the BBC had gone well beyond contractual requirements when doling out exit pay for senior staff.

Adams came under personal scrutiny for her part in the debacle and faced a grilling over her HR skills. She also faced criticism for her take home salary of £320,000, which had in fact been frozen for the past four years.

At the time Adams conceded that the size of golden goodbyes for certain top execs had made her “uncomfortable” but said that it was “custom and practice” to make a payment in lieu of notice in addition to an executive’s 12-month redundancy cheque. However, MPs questioned why she had not “challenged” this culture as part of her role as HR director.

She said that the decision had been made that it was “important” to get people out of the organisation to enable restructuring to take place as soon as possible and deliver cost savings.

Commenting on the exit package for former director-general Mark Byford, Adams told the PAC: “My advice was that he was contractually entitled to 12 months’ redundancy, and there was custom and practice around payment in lieu of leave.

“I absolutely accept that with hindsight, looking at that deal there was eight months we could have asked Mark to work.”

Redundancy payouts at the broadcaster have now been capped at £150,000.

Adams joined the BBC in June 2009 from law firm Eversheds, prior to that she had worked at security firm Serco.

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Comments (5)
  • Not sure whether this is a bigger deal for 'HR' or the BBC. Either way, this lady may as well join the 'Fred The Shred' convalescence home right now rather than next April. The root of this problem was not dealing correctly with failing fat cats and the lesson has yet to be learnt.

  • 'HR' has been damaged by the BBC carry on.

  • Actually on reflection I had missed the fact that her salary was £320,000 and not £32,000 and the compromise deal was for over £1,000,000 not the £10,000 that I am familiar with. Sorry, call me a muppet as all this is public money isn't it?

  • What isall the fuss about, compromise agreements are commonpractice in both the public & private sector. There are many issues at the BBC most of them outside the HR arena, & this is NOT one of them.

  • So much for ethics in HR! What a wonderful example for all HR students! I wouldn't object so much if it came out of her pocket - but it was our money!! We are forced to purchase TV licences to keep the BBC running so that Lucy and her colleagues can throw it away as though it was their own. It sounds almost criminal to me!