Fired S4C chief Sian Doyle hits out at chairman after dismissal “without proper grounds”

Sian Doyle (Source: S4C)

Sian Doyle, the former chief executive of Welsh-language public broadcaster S4C, has criticised her dismissal last week by channel chairman Rhodri Williams as “an unprecedented lack of governance for a public body”.

Doyle was fired from her post following an investigation into allegations of “bullying and a toxic culture” at the channel. Taking aim at Williams in particular, Doyle released a statement on Friday night in which she called on the Welsh government to intervene.

“The question that S4C’s Board, the Secretary of State for DCMS Lucy Frazer, and the Welsh Government now need to answer is this: is it right that a public body committed to such a high standard of governance still be led by the current Chair?”

She further criticised the manner of her dismissal, writing that: “I was dismissed by letter, without notice, without a meeting, without seeing a copy of the Capital Law report or any evidence, without a right of appeal, and without proper grounds.”

Doyle, who took up the post of chief exec at S4C in January 2022, wrote: “The job of a female CEO in this organisation has proved difficult at best and downright demoralising at worst, and I have been prevented from delivering the necessary programme of transformation.

“I joined S4C because members of the Board persuaded me to come out of retirement after a 30-year international career to create positive change. My mandate as CEO was to take S4C’s extraordinary programming and the Welsh language to the world, to prepare S4C for a digital future, and to transform the organisation.

“I am very proud of what S4C has achieved under my leadership. I was so passionate about continuing this journey and delivering the mandate set by the board, and I am enormously sad that this opportunity has today been taken away from me.”

Capital Law is the legal firm that was appointed by Williams in May to conduct an independent external investigation comes after the Bectu union described a “a culture of fear” at S4C. Bectu also reported that management had been “aggressive and confrontational” towards staff when concerns were raised.

“For us to begin to make improvements we need to make some changes immediately,” said the S4C Authority, which oversees the management of the station, in its own statement, and which revealed that the views of 96 current or former staff, or employees of its partners, formed part of the investigation.

“Having received detailed legal advice, members of the S4C Authority made the difficult but unanimous decision to terminate the employment of the chief executive,” it said.

“We will work towards appointing a new leader who can help restore an ambitious S4C with a renewed focus on collaboration and the well-being of our colleagues.”

Tags: BECTU, S4C

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