BBC director general admits pay disclosure was a factor in Chris Evans Radio 2 exit

BBC director general admits pay disclosure was a factor in Chris Evans Radio 2 exit

The director general of the BBC has told MPs that pay disclosures the corporation has to make were a factor in Chris Evans leaving BBC Radio 2.

Speaking to the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Lord Hall said that the requirements to reveal the pay of talent earning more than £150,000 were partly behind the Breakfast Show host’s decision to join Virgin Radio.

"We have to recognise we're not going to attract people at the kind of mega sums others in the commercial sphere might be able to pay," Lord Hall said.

He said that Evans had felt the pressure after it was revealed last year that he topped the pay for BBC talent in 2017, before dropping down and coming second to Gary Lineker this year following the end of his stint on Top Gear. 

The radio presenter was the sole earner in the £1,660,000-£1,669,999 per year bracket .

"For three or four days he was the centre of a lot of attention," Lord Hall told the committee this morning (September 11).

"[It does have a] bearing on when you think about where you want to work in the future. I think he's a remarkable presenter. He's a loss to the BBC, a loss to our audiences." 

However, the director general added that Evans' departure was also down to him wanting a new challenge, and that he  was in favour of star pay being revealed to the public.

"I have no complaint, disclosure is a good thing," Lord Hall declared.

According to the latest figures, Chris Evans' Radio 2 Breakfast Show has an audience of just over 9m. He will leave the BBC at Christmas after which he will join Virgin, now a digital station.

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