Paying George Entwistle £450,000 to leave the BBC was “better than any other course of action”, according to the head of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten.
Speaking before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Lord Patten defended the decision to pay Entwistle a full year’s salary despite him only being contractually entitled to half of that amount.
Patten also revealed Entwistle had wanted more, forcing the Trust into a deal which avoided Entwistle taking out constructive dismissal and unfair dismissal action.
Entwistle’s severance package also included £35,000 for legal expenses, £10,000 for public relations support and 12 months’ private medical cover.
“It was implied in all our negotiations that if we wanted him to go quickly and without a fuss, that these were the terms,” Patten said.
“We either had to deal with it quickly there and then, broadly speaking on the terms of 12 months, though that was less than we were asking for, or we had to go to constructive dismissal and constructive dismissal would have landed us with exactly the same amount of money, plus almost certainly another £80,000 of unfair dismissal.”
Patten insisted that the BBC’s actions were taken with full legal advice, who agreed that agreeing to Entwistle’s demands was the best course of action.
“I wonder in retrospect by the end how much of his heart was in it. I think he had found the whole thing an appalling experience.”