Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Webb master

It's not the first time the BBC has turned to a business brain to fill a slot normally assigned to someone recognised as a "creative leader".  Alice Webb, according to Auntie's house organ Ariel, has no programme-making or editorial experience, yet has won through interviews to become the new Director of Children's - both output and production.

Alice joined from PA Consulting ten years ago, and is currently Chief Operating Officer, England (formerly North) for Peter Salmon. She has a degree in civil and mechanical engineering from Liverpool, three kids and a home somewhere in striking distance of Salford Quays. This is still more than can be said for Peter Salmon, or indeed for a former Director of Children's with a business background, Richard Deverell, now trying to balance the books at Kew.

Tim Davie is cited as one business type who took on creative leadership - running the Radio division for four years, from a background starting as a Procter & Gamble trainee.  Some woukld argue that John Birt was more a self-trained management consultant than a creative leader in his time at the BBC - indeed, he went on to work for McKinsey after he left.

As a COO, Alice will know all about salary setting. She's currently on £189,600. Her predecessor at Children's, Joe Godwin, had risen to £169,400 after 28 years with the BBC. Let's see where Alice's package ends up. And, if Children's production goes to the new super-indie, how that will be reflected in her salary.

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