BBC downgrades marketing as Sharon Baylay heads for the exit

Not so long ago marketing was the big thing at the BBC, former Unilever marketer Andy Duncan became one of the grandest of fromages before setting off to run Channel 4 (he’s since moved to posh car dealer HR Owen) and he was succeeded by PepsiCo’s Tim Davie, now head of audio and music which makes him Chris Evans’ boss (among many others) on over £600,000 a year.

Davie will be jolly glad he did make the switch as his successor, Sharon Baylay, who joined from Microsoft a year and a half ago is following fellow board member deputy director general Mark Byford out of the door.

Baylay, who’s director of marketing, communications and audiences, has had her job downgraded as part of director general Mark Thompson’s slimming-down exercise and has decided to leave. She was on around £345,000 a year.

Thompson’s strategy, apart from sacking Byford, seems to be to boot people off the board in the hope that they’ll decide to go, as Baylay has. Head of BBC North Peter Salmon has lost his board seat as has HR director Lucy Adams.

The decision to downgrade Salmon looks distinctly peculiar as the BBC North job has never been so crucial as about a third of the corporation is due to move to Salford soon. Unless this is a heavy hint that Thompson would like to see the back of him too of course.

Helen Normoyle, a market researcher and former Ofcom executive, remains as director of marketing but is hardly in the heavy-hitting mould of Duncan, Davie or Baylay.

A lot of people would argue that the Beeb, with its guaranteed £3bn plus income and huge natural audience traffic, through its websites too of course, hardly needs marketing anyway.

A point D-G Thompson seems to be reluctantly conceding.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.