The BBC‘s highly paid diversity tsar June Sarpong has pocketed more than £30,000 from speaking at corporate events in the past eight weeks.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that on top of her BBC role – for which she is paid £267,000 for a three-day week – the former television presenter has also appeared at six conferences since June 1.
Sources close to Ms Sarpong yesterday confirmed that she earns between £5,000 and £6,000 per gig, meaning she earned at least £30,000 in just two months.
While the BBC insists that its creative diversity director is doing nothing wrong and that bosses are aware of her extra earnings, it is unlikely to go down well with colleagues currently facing redundancy, or licence-fee payers who are footing the bill for her salary.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that on top of her BBC role – for which she is paid £267,000 for a three-day week – June Sarpong (pictured) has also appeared at six conferences since June 1
The 44-year-old – who is paid more per day than the broadcaster’s top boss, Director-General Tim Davie – hosted a merger for Virgin Media and O2 on June 1 at the company’s new headquarters in Reading.
Staff were invited to attend the event both in person and virtually but were not told in advance that it would be anchored by the star.
That same month she was also the guest speaker for energy supplier EDF’s ‘in-house content lab workshop’, where she discussed diversity and inclusion – the same subject she is paid to advise on at the BBC – with their staff.
Ms Sarpong also hosted a summer internship for accountancy firm Ernst & Young alongside Dr Alex from Love Island; took part in a live discussion for Coutts bank, entitled Doing Well By Doing Good; moderated a panel discussion for investment companies Coller Capital and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; and took part in a discussion for Speak Up Consulting, which says it specialises in digital, marketing and business transformation.
Ms Sarpong, who was appointed the BBC’s diversity champion in 2019 to ‘achieve real change’, appears on a website which advertises speakers where it says she costs £6,000 to £10,000.
Sources close to Ms Sarpong (pictured) yesterday confirmed that she earns between £5,000 and £6,000 per gig, meaning she earned at least £30,000 in just two months
However, sources close to her last night said she charges far less than other corporate speakers, adding: ‘There are some people in the industry who are greedy. June is not one of them.
‘She is not the type of person to bend the rules. She wants to engage with people and promote change. She has done absolutely nothing wrong here, she isn’t breaching any guidelines.’
A BBC report revealed that she earns £1,700 per day for three days a week, meaning if she did the job full-time she would earn £445,000.
In comparison, Mr Davie’s annual salary is £429,000 which breaks down to £1,650 per day.
In addition to her speaking roles, she has also published several books about diversity and inclusion, such as Diversify, The Power Of Women, and The Power Of Privilege: How White People Can Challenge Racism.
She was made an MBE in the most recent New Year’s Honours list for services to broadcasting.
The BBC said yesterday: ‘June Sarpong is not a full-time member of BBC staff and has always been able to do work outside the BBC – we said this when she was appointed in 2019. She reports to the BBC’s Group Managing Director who is made aware of all additional work commitments.’
The BBC (pictured: Broadcasting House, London) insists that its creative diversity director is doing nothing wrong and that bosses are aware of her extra earnings
However, this isn’t the first time that a member of the BBC’s behind-the-scenes staff has been exposed for accepting lucrative fees to talk at corporate conferences.
In February last year, the broadcaster’s former editorial director Kamal Ahmed handed back £12,000 after this newspaper told how he had been paid to speak at a banking event for the Aberdeen Standard Investment eight days after he was part of a management team that announced cuts to its news division.
The executive, who earlier this year was made redundant from his role which paid him up to £209,999, apologised to staff in an email.
It said: ‘I realise now that I did not think things through sufficiently at the time of booking and, although I did not break any of the BBC’s guidelines on external speaking, it was a mistake to agree to a fee.
‘I have told ASI this morning that I will not be taking any payment. I wanted to say sorry that a mistake made by me has become a public and internal issue.’