S4C chief executive signed off with stress following sacking of her ally
Sian Doyle, the chief executive of S4C, has been signed off work with stress a day after her close ally, chief content officer Llinos Griffin-Williams, was dismissed for gross misconduct.
Ms Griffin-Williams was sacked by the Welsh language broadcaster’s Chair Rhodri Williams following an incident in France where she was abusive to members of a TV production team providing Rugby World Cup coverage.
Nation.Cymru revealed how Ms Griffin-Williams had been sacked after staff had initially been told that she had simply “left” the broadcaster.
The dismissal occurred following an investigation into her conduct at two locations in Nantes after the match on Saturday October 7 when Wales secured a place in the quarter final of the tournament after beating Georgia.
Ms Griffin-Williams and other S4C staff including chief executive Sian Doyle were at an event in the French city hosted by Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff’s best-known Welsh language music venue.
Ms Griffin-Williams was abusive towards members of the Whisper TV team, including the former Wales international Mike Phillips, one of the pundits. She was personally abusive to Mr Phillips, saying things like if it wasn’t for her no one would know who he was. She also told him that his Welsh wasn’t good enough.
The Whisper team then left the venue to avoid further confrontation, taking a taxi to another location elsewhere in the city where other members of the Welsh media contingent were spending the evening. But Ms Griffin-Williams and Ms Doyle turned up at the second location and Ms Griffin-Williams resumed her abusive comments.
Ms Griffin-Williams was dismissed for gross misconduct. She was drunk, which is contrary to S4C policy when working for S4C. Her behaviour in Nantes was also not considered acceptable from a senior executive of the broadcaster.
Ms Doyle was at work on Friday morning in S4C’s section of BBC Wales’ office in Central Square, London. She attended a meeting of S4C’s senior management team and then a virtual all-staff meeting that involved workers in Cardiff, Carmarthen, Caernarfon, with some also working from home.
It is understood that Ms Doyle told Mr Williams at around lunchtime on Friday that she was seeing her doctor and later provided a sick note saying she had been signed off with stress.
The Times newspaper quoted an unnamed S4C source saying: “People are spooked that Llinos has been vaporised overnight. She should have been suspended first, not fired outright without an investigation. It has put Sian in a really difficult position as she tries to hold everyone together.”
In Ms Doyle’s absence her responsibilities will be shared by Geraint Evans, director of content and publishing strategy, and Elin Morris, chief operating officer.
In May the board of S4C commissioned Capital Law to investigate serious bullying allegations made by members of staff at the Welsh language TV channel.
A letter written to S4C’s non-executive board members by an official of the broadcasting union Bectu said that at a meeting of the union branch, four of its members had been in tears as they described their experiences of alleged bullying.
According to the letter, there was a toxic working environment at the channel and a lack of confidence in S4C management, with staff often feeling that they were ignored and belittled, undermined or patronised by members of the management team.
The investigation by Capital Law is ongoing. Sources have said it is taking longer than expected to complete because of the number of people who have come forward to give evidence.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.