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BBC CTO John Linwood sacked over failed £100m digital project

Bryan Glick

Former BBC chief technology officer John Linwood has been sacked over the broadcaster’s failed £100m Digital Media Initiative (DMI).

Linwood (pictured) left the corporation back in July, according to a report on the BBC website, but his departure could not be revealed until now for legal reasons. The BBC said he did not receive a pay-off.

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Linwood was suspended in May 2013 after the BBC scrapped the DMI project, which was intended to link digital production tools with a central, digital archive for BBC staff to access throughout the production process. Originally the contract was awarded to Siemens in 2008, but was brought back in-house after the supplier failed to deliver the technology and began to hit large delays.

A spokesman from the BBC said at the time that, because Linwood was the sponsor of the DMI project, he had been suspended while an internal review was underway.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said in May when the project was terminated that it had wasted a huge amount of Licence Fee payers’ money.

"I have serious concerns about how we managed this project and the review that has been set up is designed to find out what went wrong and what lessons can be learned," he said at the time.

"Ambitious technology projects like this always carry a risk of failure, it does not mean we should not attempt them but we have a responsibility to keep them under much greater control than we did here.”

Linwood had previously been responsible for one of the BBC’s most successful technology initiatives – supporting the London 2012 Olympics.

He told Computer Weekly in 2012 that the Olympics was “the biggest operational challenge we have had”.

But the high-profile failure of the DMI project has now lost Linwood his £280,000 per year post. He joined the BBC from Yahoo in 2009, where he ran all of Yahoo’s engineering outside the US, in charge of 1600 staff.


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