BBC executive Alan Yentob has been with the corporation since 1968 and held the post of Creative Director for the past decade. Today, his departure was announced amid an ongoing scandal surrounding the Kids Company charity. Yentob is the latest senior executive to leave the BBC following the sudden departure of Danny Cohen as Director of Television in October.
Yentob, who was also the chairman of the board of trustees of Kids Company, has been accused of a conflict of interest and trying to influence the BBC’s coverage of it. The charity ceased operations in August as questions swirled about its performance and management and as it emerged that police were investigating a report of alleged sexual abuse on its premises and philanthropists withdrew funding.
Yentob has previously helped guide the BBC through such scandals as the revelations of sex abuse by the late Jimmy Savile.
In a statement, he said today, “The BBC is going through particularly challenging times and I have come to believe that the speculation about Kids Company and the media coverage revolving around my role is proving a serious distraction. So I have spoken to Tony Hall and told him that I think it best that I step down from my senior management role as Creative Director at the end of this year and focus on program making and TV production.”
Yentob will remain chairman of BBC Films. “I love the BBC and will continue to do everything I can to ensure that it thrives and fulfils the great expectations we all have of it,” he said.
Director General Hall praised Yentob and added, “For the record, BBC News considered whether Alan Yentob had influenced the BBC’s journalism on the reporting of Kids Company. They concluded that he did not. Despite that, I understand his reasons for stepping down as Creative Director. He has been thinking about this carefully for some time and we have discussed it privately on a number of occasions. I am pleased that Alan will be continuing his brilliant work as a program maker at the BBC in the future.”