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Cath Everett

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BBC HR exec quits over move north


The head of HR at BBC North who was hired to sell the case to 1,500 staff about relocating from London to Manchester has quit his job because he did not wish to live there himself.

Paul Gaskin took on his £190,000 a year post with the broadcaster less than two months ago after leaving outsourcing firm Serco. He was responsible for ‘the overall HR direction and leadership to meet the medium- to long-term strategic objectives for BBC North’. Other tasks included ‘training and development, recruitment, reward, diversity, employment, policy and organisation design’.
According to the Mail on Sunday, his departure astonished colleagues who said he left without explanation and that he had been contractually obliged to make the 200-mile move to BBC North’s new Salford Quays-based headquarters.
He told the newspaper: "I did not want to move to Manchester and so decided to leave. It’s as simple as that." Gaskin, who is married with children and lives in Stevenage, left the BBC at the end of July and has been replaced by Ken Lee.
The new ‘Media City’ headquarters in Salford Quays is scheduled to house the BBC’s children’s department, Radio 5 Live, parts of the BBC’s new media wing and BBC Breakfast among others. But Richard Deverell, chief operating officer for the new base, is also reportedly undecided as to whether to make the move.
Gaskin’s decision to leave rather than relocate will be a blow to the BBC’s ambitions of reflecting diversity in the UK more effectively. One source told the Mail: “There are real worries the BBC move north is facing problems. It doesn’t make sense for him to quit such a big job in the middle of such a prestigious project.”
He was one of three recruits whose appointments caused controversy because their pay packets were higher than the Prime Minister David Cameron’s at £142,500 per annum. Despite the fact that the BBC is independent of government, critics accused it of making a mockery of public sector spending at a time of proposed swingeing budget cuts.

4 Responses

  1. Moving North

    I’d manage to plan ahead and move north if I was worth a £190,000 pay packet

  2. Divide? There is more than one

    I once recruited a man from Halifax to work in a trading company in Liverpool. On his 29th day he pulled out citing his family’s reluctance to move 65 miles. Seems like a similar position for Paul Gaskin (good northern name) as he must have known that he had to move North when he took the job.

    Good opportunity for a Northern lass or Lad to get a good post. Why does the BBC recruit mainly in the South East? After all the Guardian started life as the Manchester Guardian.



    – Ed Nash Humanita Ltd

  3. Add in the West/East divide

    I grew up on the south west coast, so to me I’m up north now – anything north of Bristol is considered north if you come from Plymouth!

    I love lots of places in the north despite being very south. I suspect there seems to be more of a problem with people in the south-east with the north? There’s definitely an issue for journalists about whether to move to London (Fleet St is definitely not paved in gold but we all kid ourselves) or not.

    Seriously though, it’s hard to move your family isn’t it? Then again it sounds like the move could have been anticipated…


  4. Not sure the North/South divide has changed much!

    What an interesting subject.

    I remember years (29 as you will know from last week’s blog) ago at a group interview for graduates one of the discussions we were asked to debate was the North/South divide. As a northerner (well midlands really at the time but ‘anything north of Watford’ seemed to apply to the north then) I was amazed at the reactions of the others about their perception of what the north was like! Had they ever been there I wondered – it wasn’t the north pole after all.

    Conversations haven’t changed much over that time. I still get asked why I live in Scotland (I’ve slowly moved further north other the years) and even more often why I don’t move south. My answer is the same as it was then – I currently don’t see the benefits of moving south.

    I wonder how much movement north/south or even south/north really takes place – or do northerners and southerners still keep to what they know and feel comfortable with and why in this electronic age is that still the case?


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