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Savile fall guy is back at his desk: Executive who 'resigned' over report returns despite calls for him to 'go now'Stephen Mitchell still working at BBC despite resigning after Newsnight crisisOther executives have been shifted sideways into new roles
Mr Mitchell will retire on a large pension next year
07:57 GMT, 21 December 2012
Still there: Stephen Mitchell, who quit as deputy director of news as a result of the fallout from the Newsnight broadcast, is still doing the job
The fall-guy BBC executive who ‘resigned’ after the devastating report into the Jimmy Savile fiasco was back at his desk on full pay yesterday defying calls for him to ‘go now’.
Stephen Mitchell, 63, supposedly quit amid great fanfare on Wednesday after bearing the brunt of criticism in the Pollard Review which concluded the BBC had been paralysed by ‘chaos and confusion’.
Yet he is still doing his 203,250-a-year job as deputy director of news, and plans to retire on a large pension next year, bringing his career to what he described as ‘a dignified end’.
His immediate boss Helen Boaden – who presided over ‘virtual meltdown’ of her division during the Savile crisis – also returned to her 354,000-a-year role yesterday, telling colleagues that trust in the BBC had taken a ‘small knock’.
Other executives supposedly punished are simply being moved to ‘cushy jobs’ elsewhere on the same pay – prompting incredulous Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman to accuse BBC acting director-general Tim Davie of ‘inventing’ jobs for them at vast expense to licence-payers.
As the fall-out of the Savile crisis continued to reverberate around the corporation, an MP described the BBC as ‘completely out of touch’.
Rob Wilson demanded that Mr Mitchell – severely criticised by Pollard for his ‘exceptionally vague’ evidence – must ‘go now’.
He added: ‘Licence fee payers will find it hard to understand why, when thousands of people have been made redundant in recent years, the BBC managers responsible for nearly trashing the corporation’s journalistic reputation are found cushy jobs elsewhere.
This will only entrench public anger.’
On Newsnight, Paxman grilled Mr Davie and established that Mr Mitchell was back doing the same job, on the same pay, for a further six months. He asked: ‘Would you describe that as a resignation, a retirement or a sacking’
Mr Davie replied: ‘I would say he has decided to leave the BBC and he has resigned.’ Paxman also asked how Miss Boaden would be able to restore confidence in the BBC when she had taken part in the ‘complete chaos’.