BBC defends HR chief Stephen Kelly’s £33,000 bonus

The BBC has defended HR chief Stephen Kelly’s £33,000 bonus – insisting he has “made an important contribution”.

Broadcasting union Bectu last week called on Kelly to hand back the payment because of the job cuts being made at the BBC.

Director-general Mark Thompson decided not to take up his annual bonus of up to £64,000 because of the “scale of disruption and uncertainty” across the corporation.

But a BBC spokeswoman said “Stephen has made an important contribution during a time of real change at the BBC, and has met key objectives.”

The BBC’s 2007-08 annual report was published last week, showing that Kelly was paid a total of £431,000 including bonus and benefits.

The spokeswoman added: “Executive salaries at the BBC are proportionate for a public broadcaster. We pay competitively to attract and retain talented individuals. Bonuses recognise staff contributions and are determined by operational targets.”

However, the BBC and Bectu agreed a plan in January that will see 1,800 jobs cut at the company over the next five years as part of a cost-cutting plan prompted by a funding crisis.

A Bectu spokeswoman said: “Stephen Kelly is in our line of fire. He is head of HR, and knows as well as his colleagues the upheaval the BBC has faced in the past year.

“It is incumbent on him to do the decent thing by not taking his bonus. We don’t see how he can justify taking his bonus when so many staff have gone, and that has increased the pressure on those who remain.”

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