BBC CTO axed over failed IT project

The BBC has confirmed it sacked CTO John Linwood in July 2013 over the corporation's failed Digital Media Initiative (DMI), which attempted to change the way staff used, developed and shared multimedia material.

The project, which was worth 98.4 million, was damned as a "huge [waste] ... of license fee payers' money" by BBC director general Tony Hall when he closed it down in May.

Linwood was suspended at the same time and ultimately fired in July without receiving a pay-off for the termination of his contract.

However, according to the BBC, it had not been possible to disclose his departure until now for unspecified legal reasons.

At the time of Linwood's suspension, the BBC Trust's Anthony Fry said in a letter to the chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee that DMI had generated "little or no assets" in the four years since its launch.

"It is of utmost concern to us that a project which had already failed to deliver value for money in its early stages has now spent so much more of licence fee payers' money," he said.

A report published in December 2013 added that the BBC should have realised the scheme was set to fail two years before it was finally axed.

It laid the blame for DMI on a failure of governance and oversight and said the senior executives who were involved in its management did not fully understand the technology involved.

The Public Accounts Committee is due to hear evidence on the DMI from former BBC director general Mark Thompson in February, who was in charge for the duration of the project.

Jane McCallion
Managing Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.