I’m proud of creating local jobs, says Berkhamsted cafe founder - and top BBC executive - Lisa

A top BBC executive who has helped launch a new Berkhamsted eaterie has defended her role in the venture after it was highlighted in a Sunday newspaper report querying the corporation’s management culture.

The two-page Mail On Sunday report spoke of ‘fury over the £270,000-a-year corporate boss who somehow found the time to set up a coffee chain.’

But Lisa Opie, the BBC’s controller of business, knowledge and daytime, told the Gazette that although she had invested in the venture and was co-owner of the Lower Kings Road cafe, she did not have any operational role or ‘job’ in the Here set-up.

She said: “We have an excellent team led by a talented general manager.

“The work that has gone into the launch has been carried out in my own time – evenings, weekends and holidays.

“The BBC gave their consent to my involvement and have been fully aware throughout.

“I’m proud that, in my spare time, I have helped launch a business that helps provide local jobs and supports local suppliers. I’m proud, too, of my continued contribution and total commitment to the BBC.”

The Mail on Sunday report also detailed the involvement of other BBC executives in private businesses and consulting roles, and said that Tory politicians had promised to probe the ‘second jobs culture’ which allowed senior executives to run thriving businesses on the side.