Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, will be stepping down from her role on the board of the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. Under new rules announced today by the BBC Trust regarding the formation of the BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) board, greater separation between the two entities is being mandated in order to ‘reduce the potential for conflicts of interest,’ says the public broadcaster.
Also, under these rules, BBC Worldwide chief executive John Smith will no longer be a part of the executive board for the BBC. In addition, any transactions of more than £30 million will have to be approved by the BBC Trust. In the past, the amount requiring Trust approval was £50 million and up.
‘The BBC Trust believes that these changes will strengthen the ability of BBC Worldwide to deliver value to licence fee-payers through the return it makes on content owned and paid for by licence fee-payers,’ said Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust. ‘The changes also respond to concerns raised by commercial competitors and others.’
These changes for the BBC’s commercial operation come in the wake of increased scrutiny over the size and scope of the BBC from politicians and competitors alike. Talk of a potential merger between BBCWW and Channel 4 continues, although Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson has recently told British media that the channel should be examining other funding routes.