“Marcus Ryder is not blackballed but the BBC has failed on inclusivity says BBC DG Tim Davie” by Simon Albury

At a VLV conference today, Financial Times’ Assistant Editor Janine Gibson, led the diversity section of her interview with Tim Davie asking him if Marcus Ryder was still blackballed for advocating diversity. Gibson added “You’ve been accused of downgrading diversity, equality and inclusion with the departure of June Sarpong. Do you feel this job is done? Is that a reason to downgrade that post?” 

Davie replied:

We are not even close to done. By the way, Marcus is not Blackballed. I spoke to Marcus, sat with him. He’s absolutely not blackballed. Marcus is an incredibly intelligent executive. We went through a process. He didn’t get that job, (based in Birmingham, overseeing Radio 1’s Newsbeat bulletins and the news service of the Asian Network) but you know, we worked with Marcus. There’s absolutely, there’s no issue there at all……That’s absolutely clear there’s no blackballing at all. 

In terms of diversity and inclusion in the BBC, I’ve been critical, I think as people know. I think if you talk to anyone in the BBC, we are not without our struggles and things we’ve got to do in the area, but in the last year and a half, there’s no doubt we are, we have got a massively increased focus on diversity and inclusion. 

The building blocks I’ve got in my head are very much, you have to have targets. People always get slightly grumpy about targets. Do you need them? I just set a socioeconomic diversity targets, 25%, but all the leaders in the BBC are now held utterly accountable for delivering 50, 20 12, the gender number, BAME and people with disability in the organization. And we’re tracking against that. So I know, I think my latest BME number is 16.6%. So ahead of population, but we’ve got work to do. I think we’re 13% senior leadership. It’s all transparent. It’s clear. We’ve got a very hot market for BAME talent. So we are losing some people, but we’re hiring people as well. We’ve had some brilliant hires. I won’t go through them all, but at senior level. I think we’ve got enormous work to do, enormous work to do.

 The thing that happens here is…….. it’s an industry. we’ve always had a lot of good intent and initiatives by the dozen. What we haven’t really done is really changed the inclusivity of our organization so that it really feels like a place for anyone to work, and there’s not necessarily a type or a fit. And to do that, I think you have to reshape the organization.


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