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Sacked CTO Linwood planned Deutsche Bank move before BBC axed DMI

Anh Nguyen | May 16, 2014
John Linwood, the former chief technology officer (CTO) who was sacked over the BBC's failed Digital Media Initiative (DMI) project, had been planning to leave the organisation for a job at Deutsche Bank, it has emerged.

"These people were working incredibly hard putting their heart and soul in this system and it would have been hugely demoralising to say, 'Sorry guys, we're putting a plan B in place'. What I didn't want was to have the development team being upset that all their work was being potentially replaced by a back-up plan."

In addition, Linwood said that the delays were "not all down to technology issues. Many of the delays were...because of change or unclear requirements coming from business".

Contradictions

But Linwood's former colleagues did not back his side of the story.

During his disciplinary process, Linwood asked the BBC's HR director Clare Dyer to speak to DMI consultant Alastair Ford and DMI programme and director of supplier management Peter O'Kane.

Ford said that the business had "not [been] fundamentally changing its requirements" and that the project always seemed to be "close" to delivering on its targets, but was held back by technical difficulties.

Meanwhile, Kane said that the DMI was "a failure without question".

Siemens was originally contracted to build the DMI system, though the BBC cancelled this contract and brought development in-house in September 2009, without obtaining independent technical assurance for the system design or ensuring that the intended users were sufficiently engaged with the project.

The project was already running 18 months behind when the BBC's in-house development team took over.

The BBC eventually failed to complete the programme and cancelled it in May 2013 at a cost of £98.4m.

The tribunal is ongoing.

 

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