RTE’s Incoming Director-General Plans Executive Board Overhaul Following Salary Underreporting Scandal

RTE’s Incoming Director-General Plans Executive Board Overhaul Following Salary Underreporting Scandal

…By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.

RTE, the Irish national broadcaster, is set for significant changes in its executive leadership, according to a senior representative from the organization.

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This development comes in the aftermath of the revelation that star presenter Ryan Tubridy’s salary had been underreported by €345,000 over the period of 2017 to 2022, leading to a crisis at the public service broadcaster.

The chairwoman of RTE’s board described the handling of the payments as an intentional act of deception.

Tubridy stepped down from his role in May, and comedian Patrick Kielty was announced as his successor.

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RTE’s Executive Accountability and Governance Failure

Representatives from RTE’s executive and board recently appeared before the Public Accounts Committee to address the commercial arrangements and payments made to presenters, particularly those underwritten by the broadcaster for Tubridy.

Interim Deputy Director-General Adrian Lynch acknowledged the lack of collective responsibility among the executive board regarding the misreported payments.

He expressed deep regret and offered apologies for the breach of trust with the public.

Lynch admitted that the executive board’s governance procedures allowed for partial and incomplete sharing of information, leading to inadequate evaluation of Tubridy’s contract.

He confirmed that the incoming director-general, Kevin Bakhurst, intends to reconstitute the executive board as his first task.

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Revealing Internal Issues and Calls for Change

The chairwoman of RTE’s board, Siun Ni Raghallaigh, acknowledged significant cultural issues within the organization, such as information silos and hierarchical structures that hinder transparency and foster bureaucracy.

She emphasized the grave failings in internal controls at RTE and called for a comprehensive overhaul of these controls and work practices.

Ni Raghallaigh also highlighted the need for a review of the highest-paid members of the organization.

She strongly condemned the intentional act of deception and requested the former director-general, Dee Forbes, to appear before the committee when her health permits.

Department of Media Calls for Accountability and Review

Katherine Licken, the secretary general at the Department of Media, emphasized the necessity for RTE to provide a full account of the circumstances leading to the misstated payments to Tubridy.

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She stated that an external review will be conducted to assess the effectiveness of RTE’s current governance framework and organizational culture.

The review will focus on trust, governance, transparency, communications, and necessary changes.

New Late Late Show Host Discloses Salary Details

Amid mounting pressure on RTE for failing to disclose additional payments made to Tubridy, the new host of RTE’s Late Late Show, Patrick Kielty, revealed the terms of his contract.

Kielty confirmed that he will be paid €250,000 per 30-show season and has signed a three-season deal.

He also disclosed receiving a one-off payment of €20,000 for pre-production and rehearsals.

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Kielty stated that he will cover his own flights and accommodation expenses and has requested carbon offsetting for his flights.

Looking Ahead with Clarity

The disclosure of Tubridy’s underreported salary and the subsequent actions taken by RTE have exposed significant flaws in internal controls and governance.

The upcoming reconstitution of the executive board, along with a comprehensive review of the organization’s practices, aims to address these issues.

The disclosure of Kielty’s contract details provides transparency regarding the new host’s remuneration, and he expressed his enthusiasm to begin hosting The Late Late Show.

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