Channel 4 chief is lambasted by MPs over her 'obscene' salary

Channel 4 chief is lambasted by MPs over her 'obscene' salary

June 26, 2021

Channel 4 chief Alex Mahon flaunts £47,000 necklace as MPs lambast her over her ‘obscene’ £991,000 salary and wages paid to other senior staff

  • Ms Mahon, who earns £991k as chief executive, donned the jewellery for her appearance before Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee last week
  • Parliamentary session put C4’s finances under scrutiny, including her pay, which rose by £50k last year despite pandemic and £150m cut to programming budget
  • Programme director Ian Katz also had a pay increase, to £536,000
  • Ms Mahon, 47, wore designer bauble again next day when she addressed staff to discuss C4’s planned privatisation by Government, which may mean job losses

Channel 4 boss Alex Mahon wore a diamond necklace worth nearly £50,000 as she was quizzed by MPs about the ‘obscene’ salaries the broadcaster paid its senior staff.

Ms Mahon, who earns £991,000 as chief executive, donned the jewellery for her appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee last week.

The extravagant creation consisted of two pieces from jeweller Jessica McCormack’s Ball N Chain range – a £19,250 necklace and a diamond pendant believed to cost just over £28,000.

The parliamentary session put Channel 4’s finances under scrutiny, including Ms Mahon’s pay – which rose by £50,000 last year despite the pandemic and a £150 million cut to the programming budget. 

Channel 4 boss Alex Mahon wore a diamond necklace worth nearly £50,000 (above) as she was quizzed by MPs about the ‘obscene’ salaries the broadcaster paid its senior staff. Ms Mahon, who earns £991,000 as chief executive, donned the jewellery for her appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee last week

Ms Mahon, 47, wore the designer bauble again the next day (above) when she addressed staff to discuss Channel 4’s planned privatisation by the Government, which may mean job losses

Programme director Ian Katz also had a pay increase, to £536,000. At the hearing, SNP MP John Nicolson said: ‘These salary levels, I think to most people, seem obscene. They are absurdly large.

‘I sometimes think listening to TV executives at these hearings that they live in a parallel universe. 

‘Just think of what some of your employees must think when they hear about your salary levels and how demotivating it must be for them.’

Ms Mahon, 47, wore the designer bauble again the next day when she addressed staff to discuss Channel 4’s planned privatisation by the Government, which may mean job losses. 

One worker commented: ‘She’s wearing the equivalent of someone’s job round her neck.’ 

Ms Mahon, a mother of four, and husband Richard Barker divide their time between two homes – a £1.9 million house in London and a country retreat in the Cotswolds.

She has also just taken up a part-time role as a non-executive board member at fashion house Chanel but for her appearance before MPs she wore a £1,750 wool jacket from rival Gucci.

Ms Mahon didn’t declare the job, which is thought to earn her tens of thousands of pounds a year, at the committee. 

Ms Mahon’s Channel 4 salary is more than double the £475,000 Tim Davie (pictured) is paid as director-general of the BBC, which has 19,500 employees compared to C4’s 900

Critics will wonder how she can juggle her new appointment with her work at Channel 4.

Last year, the broadcaster announced a 20 per cent pay cut for executives, with their bonuses axed, but just four months later it quietly restored remuneration and bonuses back to full levels.

Ms Mahon declined to comment on her necklace, but friends say that ‘she loves fashion’.

Her Channel 4 salary is more than double the £475,000 Tim Davie is paid as director-general of the BBC, which has 19,500 employees compared to C4’s 900. 

Ms Mahon’s decision to appear at the hearing from Leeds is also believed to have antagonised staff since neither she nor Mr Katz will not be based at the new satellite HQ in the city.

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