Apprentice star’s 12-month fee from BBC-backed internet TV service helped company costs soar to over £3m
Lord Sugar was paid £500,000 to chair YouView, the much delayed internet-based TV service backed by the BBC, as staff costs soared to well over £3m.
YouView – a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, Channel 5, Arqiva and TalkTalk – paid Sugar £500,000 for theyear to the end of March 2012, according to its latest financial filing at Companies House.
The payout handed to Sugar, who was appointed at the behest of shareholder Richard Desmond in March 2011 as the venture missed its launch deadlines, dwarfs that of his predecessor Kip Meek, who was paid £97,000 for less than eight months in the role of chairman.
The payment to Sugar, who has amassed a fortune estimated to be worth about £800m according to the Sunday Times Rich List, partly fuelled a tripling of YouView’s total salary bill.
Total wages and social security costs for YouView’s average employee base of 29 in 2012 was £3.25m – an average of £112,206 per staff member.
The Companies House filing shows that, in the previous financial year, YouView employed an average of 15 staff and incurred a wage bill of £1.1m – an average of £73,333 per employee. The 2011 filing is for nine months of operations.
YouView received £32.6m from shareholders in the year to the end of March 2012.
The partners, who each own 14.3% of the venture, have pledged to invest £115m between them, covering development, launch and the first four years of operation.
Sugar presided over the much-delayed launch of YouView in July last year, more than 18 months after initial business plan projections of early 2011. He said that the longer-than-expected development period meant the partners have already spent £70m between them.
A YouView spokeswoman said: “Lord Sugar joined YouView as chairman in March 2011 and he has subsequently spearheaded YouView’s successful entry to market, which is generating encouraging results for the company. Lord Sugar’s remuneration is approved by all seven shareholder companies and as a non-executive director, he does not hold shares in YouView or receive any other incentives.”
• To contact the MediaGuardian news desk email email@example.com or phone 020 3353 3857. For all other inquiries please call the main Guardian switchboard on 020 3353 2000. If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly “for publication”.