Golden handshake for former editor-in-chief

Crisis in public service broadcasting

Golden handshake for former editor-in-chief of rbb

Fri 18.11.22 | 5:51 am | Of Marcus Engert (NDR), René Althammer and Jo Goll (rbb)


Audio: rbb24 | 18.11.2022 | Marcus Engert | Picture: dpa/S.Stache

The Berlin Court of Auditors has been examining all rbb consultancy contracts since 2017. The auditors should also focus on a previously unknown contract – that of the former editor-in-chief. Because he’s actually retired. By M. Engert (NDR), R. Althammer and J. Goll (rbb)

ARD survey: retirees as consultants rather the exception

Consultant contract after contract termination

In the rbb, on the other hand, it was obviously different. The conclusion of the consulting contract with the retired editor-in-chief probably did not go through purchasing, but through the director Patricia Schlesinger, who has since been dismissed, and the head of the human resources department at the time. And the height also raises question marks.

At the beginning of 2018, Singelnstein’s contract was in the course of the conversion of management salaries in rbb to a The bonus system, which has since been abolished, has been prematurely extended until 2023. The contract was apparently also one of the controversial pension regulations supplemented, which can be found on rbb and some other public broadcasters.

As a result, Singelnstein was entitled to a life pension of 55 percent of his last salary. According to NDR and rbb information, that was 180,000 euros a year. In other contracts of rbb executives, which are available to reporters from NDR and rbb, it is stipulated that pension entitlements increase by one percentage point per year of service in the management. Singelnstein’s pension entitlement should therefore have increased to 58 percent of his last salary when he left at the end of March 2021 – that would be 8,700 euros per month and more than 100,000 euros a year in addition to the statutory pension, which is not counted against it.

“Connected as a consultant”

In 2020 – despite the previous contract extension until 2023 – the rbbsurprisingly announcedthat Singelnstein will retire in April 2021. At the time, the broadcaster did not comment on the reasons for the premature end and only said that the former editor-in-chief would remain “connected to rbb as a consultant”. What that means is only now becoming clear: On the one hand, according to the contract, he should continue to advise the broadcaster for as long as his contract as editor-in-chief originally ran – until March 2023. On the other hand, after research by NDR and the rbb research team, he received this Time paid a monthly fee of 6,300 euros through the consulting contract, booked as “author/other activity”. All in all, he earns the same income as he did before as editor-in-chief.

In addition, there is another anomaly: As with other senior rbb employees, Singelnstein’s salary also recently contained a so-called “performance-related” component, which was only to be paid out if certain target agreements had been reached. It is striking that Singelnstein apparently receives a sum in retirement today that would correspond to his last salary including such a bonus. If one assumes that this share should only be paid out subject to the condition that certain goals have also been achieved, the question arises as to why Singelnstein apparently receives the full amount today – or: How valid these target agreements were.

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