BBC finance chief Anne Bulford: There are £400m in savings still to go

 As Anne Bulford, the BBC’s managing director of finance and operations, takes a seat in one of the glass-walled conference rooms in New Broadcasting House that have become familiar as sets in the mockumentary W1A, she dumps a bulging folder on the table. The labels sticking out of the sides give a sense of the political sensitivities of a senior BBC role: one says “RemCo” – remuneration committee – and another simply “Bullying”.

Bulford is no real-world version of Ian Fletcher, Hugh Bonneville’s relentlessly brainstorming BBC “head of values” in W1A, however. As the right hand of the director-general, Lord Hall, she is the person on the BBC’s executive board responsible for more or less everything substantial that isn’t programme making or strategy. That means finance, operations, the commercial and legal departments, and more besides.

“When I came here to work with Tony [Hall] and the team my job was to put financial rigour and efficiency right at the heart of the corporate agenda,” she says.

Her appointment in February last year, on a £395,000 salary and to a role that hadn’t been advertised, laid the new regime open to the same allegations of cronyism that have dogged the BBC for years. Bulford and the director-general were both senior BBC executives during the 1990s, and in between she was finance director at the Royal Opera House to Lord Hall’s chief executive.

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