A senior BBC editor is under fire for accepting a lucrative speaking engagement just days after laying off hundreds of staff at the network.
Kamal Ahmed, the corporation’s editorial director, was paid £12,000 for a 40-minute appearance at the Aberdeen Standard Investment’s conference earlier this month.
Days earlier he had informed as many as 450 of his colleagues that they face the sack as part of a BBC drive to save £80 million.
One in 13 roles across news and current affairs are being cut as part of the budget cuts.
NEW: In email to senior BBC employees, BBCeditorial director Kamal Ahmed has apologised to staff for accepting £12,000 in a speech to bankers last week. Will not take the payment. pic.twitter.com/EbnP7tr4iN— Mark Di Stefano (@MarkDiStef) February 11, 2020
Mr Ahmed, who is paid a salary of between £205,000 and £209,999 reportedly advertises his speaking services on the Speakers Associates for £10,000 to £25,000 per appearance.
During Aberdeen Standard Investment event, Mr Ahmed spoke as part of a panel discussion hosted by Steph McGovern – a former BBC colleague who now works for Channel 4.
A source told The Daily Mail Mr Ahmed had not broken any rules because he agreed to appear when in his previous role of BBC economics editor, where he could receive payment for outside work.
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In an apology email reportedly penned by Mr Ahmed and shared on social media, he apologised to staff and said: "I wanted to say sorry that a mistake made by me has become a public and internal issue.”
A BBC spokesperson said in a statement: “Editorial guidelines allow BBC journalists to carry out external speaking, or chairing, engagements as long as they maintain objectivity and impartiality.”
Mr Ahmed has served as the editorial director of BBC News since 2018, previously working as the broadcaster’s economics editor and business editor.
Before that he worked as political editor of The Observer, business editor of The Sunday Telegraph and director of communications at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.