RTÉ Director-General Kevin Bakhurst announced on Monday, July 10 that he has stood down RTÉ's Executive Board, which has been replaced with a temporary interim leadership team to continue running the organization.
The moves come as RTÉ continues to grapple with the fall-out triggered by its admission that Ryan Tubridy, the former host of "The Late Late Show," was paid €345,000 more than declared.
“In due course, there will be a new permanent leadership team," Bakhurst said in a statement on Monday.
"I want to underline that RTÉ, under my leadership and that of the re-constituted Interim Leadership Team, will be an organisation dedicated to working closely with you, to listening, to being open and transparent, to strictly adhering to revised and rigorous governance processes and procedures, to being accountable and to delivering a public service to be proud of.
"This will take time, but it will happen. It must. There is too much at stake.”
He added: “I can confirm that RTÉ will publish the salaries of the Executive/permanent Interim Leadership Team along with the earnings of RTÉ’s 10 highest-paid presenters in our annual report every year, starting with Annual Report 2023.”
The RTÉ Temporary Interim Leadership Team is:
- Kevin Bakhurst - Director-General
- Eimear Cusack - Director of Human Resources
- Vivienne Flood - Head of Public Affairs (not a member of former Executive Board)
- Mike Fives - Group Financial Controller, RTÉ (not a member of former Executive Board)
- Adrian Lynch - Director Audiences, Channels, Marketing, and continuing as Acting Deputy DG
- Paula Mullooly - Director of Legal
- Deirdre McCarthy - Director of News & Current Affairs
- Niamh O’Connor - Deputy Director of Content (not a member of former Executive Board)
- Conor Mullen - Head of Strategy & Commercial Compliance, RTÉ Media Sales (not a member of former Executive Board)
- Richard Waghorn - Director of Operations and Technology
In addition, an external Corporate Governance Expert is to be recruited.
Noting that 50% of the interim leadership team is new to running the organization, Bakhurst told RTÉ's News At One on Monday: "We need continuity in some areas, but we need fresh blood on the interim leadership team."
In an email to RTÉ staff on Monday morning, Bakhurst wrote: "Like you, I have been appalled by recent events and the impact it has had on the public perception of RTÉ, the impact on the trust the public places in us, and the impact it has had on you all."
Bakhurst announced that the Executive Board would be stood down, and noted that Rory Coveney had resigned from RTÉ a day prior.
Announcing a financial review, Bakhurst said: "From today, all significant decisions will be agreed by the whole of the Interim Leadership Team and a record of discussions leading to these decisions will be compiled.
"There can be no repeat of the siloed and at times secretive decision-making that have been at the root of the shameful events of the past weeks.
"As custodians of public money, our financial integrity must be on a par with our editorial integrity."
Bakhurst said that as part of his "commitment to increased openness and transparency," the establishment of Register of Interests for staff and contractors would be expedited in consultation with the TUG.
Bakhurst went on to write that "the culture in RTÉ needs change, from top to bottom."
To facilitate such changes, "So, from today, and notwithstanding processes already underway and reviews announced by Minister Martin, I will work with Eimear Cusack and HR to co-ordinate a review of roles and grades, pay, and gender equality; I will look at how, what and when we communicate more fully with you, and how we involve you in the decisions we make.
"Included in this will be the development of a staff consultation group to meet regularly with me and other members of the Leadership Group and a comprehensive employee survey.
"I understand that these will raise questions, so I will share further details with you on both of these and more soon."
Concluding, Bakhurst said: "In the end, words aren’t enough on their own, and it is now time for action and change.
"I am absolutely determined to introduce that change and reform which will help us draw a line under this shameful period in RTÉ’s history and to start rebuilding trust in public service broadcasting, hour by hour and day by day.
"I believe that together we will. We must. Ní neart go cur le chéile."
RTÉ announced in April that Bakhurst had been appointed as the organization's next Director General, set to replace Dee Forbes effective July 11. However, in the wake of the scandal, Forbes was suspended and on June 26, she resigned with immediate effect.
Bakhurst was previously Managing Director of News & Current Affairs at RTÉ and Deputy Director General from September 2012 – October 2016. He was also a member of the RTÉ Executive throughout this period and served as acting Director General for a six-month period. Prior to re-joining RTÉ, Bakhurst was Group Director, Broadcasting and Online at Ofcom where he was a member of Ofcom Board.