Naga Munchetty has been rapped by BBC bosses after appearing in a business interview series for Natwest.
The BBC Breakfast presenter, who earns up to £195,000 per year, hosted webinars for the banking giant one month after she was rebuked for appearing in a paid corporate video for car maker Aston Martin.
In the videos, titled ‘In Conversation With…’, the presenter speaks to high profile guests including former politician Ed Balls, the captain of England’s cricket team, Eoin Morgan, and perfume entrepreneur Jo Malone.
The BBC told MailOnline Munchetty has been warned the gig ‘could be seen as a conflict of interest and will be kept in mind for future editorial decisions.’
This comes as new director general Tim Davie plans a radical shake-up of the national broadcaster to dispel accusations of partiality.
Unveiling a bold manifesto in his debut speech last week, he warned: ‘If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC.’
He said there would be ‘clearer direction on the declaration of external interests’ following concerns that news stars had risked undermining impartiality at the BBC with their corporate work. He added that the BBC should be ‘utterly impartial’.
Naga Munchetty (left) was already in hot water after appearing in the corporate promo video for Aston Martin (pictured), with BBC bosses saying she may have once more put the broadcaster’s impartiality at risk
While the videos were filmed before Davie took up the post, BBC insiders are reportedly ‘furious about [Munchetty’s] external engagements.’
One source told the Sun: ‘How can she remain impartial if she’s doing corporate gigs for a banking giant in her free time?
‘What happens if there’s a financial story she has to discuss on the sofa, it’s an impossible situation.’
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘Since this event, Naga has been reminded of the risk of conflict of interest when undergoing external engagements.
‘We are developing clearer direction in this area as part of our wider work on impartiality and will have more to say on that in due course.’
Last month, Munchetty hosted a webinar video for the luxury carmaker without gaining approval from her employer or declaring her fee, sources have told i.
The title screenshot of the Aston Martin corporate video Naga Munchetty took part in. During the video, Freedman says the company initially put 75% of its staff on furlough to protect the company’s bottom line: ‘There was uncertainty for us when we were having to make those decisions’
The video played up how Aston Martin was ‘engaging and assisting employees’ during the coronavirus crisis despite the company’s plans to cut 500 jobs – a fifth of its workforce.
Its chief executive Andy Palmer was fired after the company’s share price plummeted and falling sales lead to a £227m loss.
BBC bosses have told Munchetty that she risked a ‘conflict of interest’ and potentially jeopardised the BBC’s impartiality, since she could be asked to discuss Aston Martin’s financial troubles on air.
The BBC’s spokesperson advised that its editorial guidelines allow journalists to carry out external speaking, or chairing at private engagements as long as they maintain objectivity and impartiality.
‘On this occasion, as the event was public facing, we have advised Naga that this could be seen as a conflict of interest and this will be kept in mind for future editorial decisions.’
The BBC Breakfast presenter earns up to £195,000 per year
In the webinar, titled ‘Road To Resilience: How Aston Martin is protecting and engaging their employees and customers’, Munchetty asks Aston Martin’s vice president and chief marketing officer Peter Freedman how the car maker has ‘reacted to this challenging and rapidly changing landscape by protecting and engaging their employees, communities and customers’.
Freedman explained the company had, at one point, placed 75% of its staff on furlough.
Munchetty asked: ‘What reassurances do they have now when it comes to their future… with Aston Martin?’
Freedman answered: ‘We wanted to give confidence to people that we’re furloughing them because there’s a lot of uncertainty, we need to protect ourselves as a business and ultimately we needed to ensure our costs were at a manageable stage, because nobody at that point knew when those restrictions were going to lift.
‘There was uncertainty for us when we were having to make those decisions.’