LONDON Feb 3 U.S. media executive Mark Thompson
apologised on Monday to the British public and parliamentarians
for the failure of a 100 million pound ($170 million) digital
project during his years of running the BBC.
Thompson, who left the publicly funded broadcaster in 2012
to become chief executive at the New York Times Company,
said the Digital Media Initiative (DMI) failed as a project in
many ways and as a result lost the public money.
The project, that was meant to allow BBC staff to create,
share and store content in a new digital system, was suspended
in 2012 and axed in May last year with a loss of 98.4 million
"I want to apologise to you and to the public for the
failure of this project," Thompson, who was BBC director general
for eight years, told parliament's public accounts committee as
he was quizzed over his role in the project.
Britain's public spending watchdog, the National Audit
Office (NAO), last week criticised the BBC Executive Board then
headed by Thompson for not having "sufficient grip" on the
project over an 18-month period or assessing the system to see
if it was "technically sound".
The NAO report comes after a series of controversies that
have rocked public confidence in the BBC, including criticism
over large payments to departing executives, a child sex scandal
involving ex-TV presenter Jimmy Savile, and workplace bullying.
Thompson was called before the Public Accounts Committee
last September to testify about severance payments for 150
departing executives that were described by the committee as