BBC deputy director to go in job cuts

BBC axes Mark Byford, the deputy director-general of the BBC, is to leave the corporation in June 2011 and the post will be closed, the service announced – making him the symbolic first casualty of a round of cost-cutting and restructuring.

As well as being paid his salary of £435,000 a year until he leaves in 2011, Byford is expected to receive redundancy of between £800,000 and £900,000.

The 52 year-old has a £3.7 million pension pot within the BBC scheme, from which he can expect £215,000 a year when he reaches retirement age.

While Byford's exit will be presented by the director-general Mark Thompson as amicable, rumours have been circulating within the BBC for more than a month that he was likely to go.

He faced criticism earlier this year after he claimed £5,000 in expenses for flights to the World Cup and senior BBC figures said last night that Byford had become a watchword for many of the criticisms that have plagued senior BBC management in recent years.

One said, ''Sacrificing Byford is definitely born out of embarrassment over his pay, his expenses, the size of his pension pot and the fact that news has two people in charge – Byford as chair of the journalism board, and Helen Boaden as director of news.''