BBC sacks CTO over failed £100m digital transformation project

The BBC has fired its chief technology officer (CTO) John Linwood over its failed Digital Media Initiative (DMI).

The project, which the BBC cancelled in May last year, resulted in the write-down of £100 million worth of assets and Linwood’s suspension. He lost his job two months later.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has previously questioned why Linwood was the sole person suspended over the major project, claiming that more than one BBC manager was to blame.

According to the BBC, Linwood, who was paid £280,000 for his role on the project, did not receive a pay-off after his contract was ended. The news of his dismissal has been delayed for “legal reasons”, the corporation said.

DMI was set up in 2008 as a complex business transformation programme aimed at changing the way that the BBC makes content for its audiences. It intended to improve production efficiency by enabling staff to develop, create, share and manage video and audio content and programming on their desktop, moving away from using video tape.

Following a failed agreement with Siemens in 2009 to deliver DMI, combined with a belief that the technology required was not commercially available, the BBC brought the project in-house in 2010. The project was then cancelled in 2013.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) review commissioned by the BBC Trust claimed that the BBC had shown serious weaknesses in project management and reporting, as well as a crippling lack of focus on business change.

Former BBC director-general Mark Thompson is due to give evidence on DMI at a Commons committee next month.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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