CV: John Smith, BBC
1997-present FD, British Broadcasting Corporation
1996-1997 Deputy FD, BBC
1992-1996 Financial controller, BBC Network TV
1989-1992 Joined BBC corporate finance office
1983-1989 Various positions at British Rail, starting as management trainee
Smith on scrutiny:
If you’re going to take over £2bn of public money each year, coming with it is an expectation that the BBC will be accountable. We produce the annual report; we go to Parliament and offer all MPs a chance to meet us; we then have an AGM with 500 licence payers; then we do the same thing for the MEPs; then the chairman and the director-general go on-line to answer questions. And we have a briefing for City analysts as well. Our feet need to be kept close to the flame, it’s quite right. It is hard work when you’re doing it, but is it any harder as a plc FD having to stand up in front of shareholders? Well, not really.
Simth on populism:
People are drawn to things that otherwise they wouldn’t be drawn to, because they have gone to our schedule to see something else. You go to watch EastEnders and then following it is Walking with Dinosaurs; so you are challenged and amazed.
Smith on accountancy:
Accountancy training, while important, is focused on rules and regulations, whereas the MBA training is focused on growth, marketing, analysis – an accountant does things right, rather than doing the right thing. And accountancy training is woefully inadequate in the area of technology, it’s a disgrace. And now the profession is fighting itself. There is a real problem coming.