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TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding Donates GBP220K Bonus to Charity

Monday, June 20th, 2016 (10:20 am) - Score 887

The CEO of UK broadband provider TalkTalk, Dido Harding, has donated here annual £220,000 bonus to charity. The decision follows last year’s cyber-attack (here), which cost the operator tens of millions and resulted in a large number of subscribers having their personal data compromised.

According to Reuters, TalkTalk’s struggling CEO received £2.8 million in total pay and share bonuses for the last 12 months (i.e. £550,000 was base pay, but most came from shares). Apparently Dido’s annual bonus has also been cut from 62% of base pay to 40% to reflect the troubles of 2015.

Dido Harding said:

Throughout the cyber attack, we worked hard to put our customers first, and we know that they have appreciated our efforts and our honesty throughout. Nevertheless, last October was a challenging period for TalkTalk and its customers and, in recognition of that, I have made a personal decision to donate my bonus to our charity partner, Ambitious About Autism.”


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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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35 Responses
  1. timeless says:

    this would be a better story if not for the fact that donating to charity means paying less tax.. and large companies love getting tax breaks when they donate.

    1. Jazzy says:

      Yep, it’s not really costing her anything

    2. MrWhite says:

      She’s taxed on the bonus, making the bonus smaller – she’s not saving money. Real question is, does the charity get a load of money? If yes, then it’s a good thing to do, surely?

    3. Karl says:

      Agreed MrWhite a pity others that earn millions, especially when it could be argued they have done a poor job do not stop step forward admit it and distribute their money to a cause that deserves it.


    Spot on Karl

  3. New_Londoner says:

    Given the reputational damage inflicted on TalkTalk by the careless approach to cyber security, and the subsequent loss of customers, I can’t understand how she still has a job let alone being granted a bonus. The share price has halved in less than a year under her stewardship so if I was a shareholder I’d be furious, would want the board to resign in shame for daring to pay any bonus.

    What exactly does Dido have to do to be sacked?

    1. Evan Crissall says:

      Perhaps the board is aware that Dido isn’t remotely to blame for organised criminals with state security/intelligence backing who (allegedly) hacked the SQL system.

      Besides, TalkTalk is majority-owned by co-founders Charles Dunstone and David Ross, and Dido Harding, and the TalkTalk Employee Share Ownership Trust.

      That means it is THEY who decide whether Dido stays. Not the nouveaux riche louts in the City, New_Londoner.

    2. New_Londoner says:

      But she *is* to blame for the lack of fit for purpose cyber security that could be breached by a very basic attack. CEOs should not get a bonus for incompetence.

    3. FibreFred says:

      The buck stops with her Evan

    4. FibreFred says:

      Agreed I would have thought she would have been given a golden handshake by now, two big blunders on her watch.

    5. Ignition says:

      I think TalkTalk would have to be acquired for her to go.

    6. Karl says:

      Did BTs CEO step down in 2001 when BT was hacked twice in three days???

      Did they step down when they were using Yahoo mail system and loads got hacked???

      Did the BT CEO then give any bonus to charity???

      NO, NO and NO

    7. FibreFred says:

      Is the article about BT?

      No no no

    8. Karl says:

      Your comments are about blaming a individual in an industry… So are mine so i fail to understand why you would be upset by them.

  4. asylum_seeker says:

    Also did the Sony CEO resign when details of ~ 77 million playstation users were hacked? NO.

    1. Karl says:

      Exactly calling for the resignation of someone over outside behavior is stupid.

    2. Evan Crissall says:

      Repeat calls for Harding to Go — all part of a low-level campaign of disruption against TalkTalk. Of which the BT ‘astroturfing’ community here is instrumental. High-fiving anything to do with BT; talk up its press releases and announcements, and slam anything to do with its rival telcos. Very gauche stuff.

    3. FibreFred says:

      Same can be said for yourself deduction with your constant flipping of posting id’s to troll with.

      My fave is how you think we are all foxed by it.

    4. Karl says:

      I have not posted by any other name, its just you are so blinkered you can not comprehend an opinion that differs from your own so it must all be the secret work of 1 individual in your (term used loosely) mind.

    5. Colin says:

      If you include myself who think fred has a serious issue entertaining anyone elses opinion then that must make 4 of us (asylum_seeker, Karl, Evan Crissall & myself) who disagree there is no way a CEO should be fired for outside interference. Though obviously we are all one individual according to him anyway.

      Websites and portals get hacked all the time. If you follow some peoples logic here CEOs of companies would be regularly fired. The worlds largest computer firm Microsoft have been hacked at certain points and more than once, nobody is dumb enough to say they should be firing and hiring a new CEO each time though.

      asylum_seekers Sony example is another good one, the hacks against them compromised a far greater amount of accounts than the talk talk hacks. Nobody called for the head of sony to be booted though.

      I would also guss its just a bunch of BT employees trying to get rid of some of the competition with whiny child like comments.

    6. FibreFred says:

      No problem with other people’s views Colin but I can spot the guises of deduction with ease.

      And I said a golden handshake not fired

    7. karl says:

      “If you include myself who think fred has a serious issue entertaining anyone elses opinion then that must make 4 of us…”

      You forgot Richard who stated “Spot on Karl”…. So that is 5 people, or 1 in freds head.

    8. Gadget says:

      I would agree a hack is not an “automatic P45” what has to be considered is level to which the organisation (for which the CEO is the “Buckstop”) has taken reasonable precautions, and some have argued in this forum and elsewhere that they believe Talktalk did not take sufficient or reasonable precautions or learn from previous hacks.

    9. Colin says:

      No different to asylum_seekers Sony example then who seem to get hacked at least once every year (six times back in 2014) and expose far greater customer numbers each time than talk talk did. Their CEO did not go.

  5. fastman says:

    the SQL hack was basic standard SQL hence it was hacked by “basic hackers” its the sort of equivalent of leaving your car unlocked on the drive overnight and expecting to still be there in the morning in the same condition and untouched !!!! – all companies have security issues it depends if you made any effort to resolve them !!!! or prevent them – this is the issue

    1. FibreFred says:

      Exactly, pen testing isn’t cheap but much cheaper than the effects of being hacked.

    2. Colin says:

      “its the sort of equivalent of leaving your car unlocked on the drive overnight and expecting to still be there in the morning in the same condition and untouched !!!!”

      My motorbike does not have doors to lock. If you left your car or house unlocked or doors wide open the person committing any crime would be the person that enters without permission, not the car or house owner.

      Stating you should taking action to prevent crime being committed to yourself or your property (in this case hacking) is a rocky road…. Maybe you want everyone to walk around with guns killing each other like in America protecting their car or home from unauthorised entry.

    3. FibreFred says:

      So Colin you are saying you shouldn’t protect your IT infrastructure against well known exploits including very old ones?

    4. Colin says:

      Its impossible to protect against some exploits including well known ones, any system can for example succome to a DDOS attack no matter its protection.

      You agreed about the “its the sort of equivalent of leaving your car unlocked on the drive overnight and expecting to still be there in the morning in the same condition and untouched !!!!” statement by fastman.

      My reasoning is far more simple, if someone wants to have your Ferrari away they will. Doors locked or open. If they want it its not gonna matter to them if it takes 1 minute or 1 hour to gain access.

      Blaming an individual or organisation for not “protecting” itself is ludicrous… Would you also blame victims of burgulary for not having a good enough lock or victims of GBH for not having a weapon to protect thereself?

    5. FibreFred says:

      So that’s a no to protecting yourself against well known and documented attacks.

      Glad you don’t provide my IT

      Nothing is 100% safe, but can and should you take all precautions to protect yourself?

      Of course

      Common sense

    6. Colin says:

      “So that’s a no to protecting yourself against well known and documented attacks.”

      As explained there is no way to prevent or protect yourself from some well known attacks.

      “Glad you don’t provide my IT”

      I wonder who does and how many CEOs you think they should had gone through as every ISP i can think of (especially the big boys) have been hacked or compromised in some manner at some point.

      “Nothing is 100% safe, but can and should you take all precautions to protect yourself?”

      Do you mean with regards to life in general?

    7. FibreFred says:


      Do you have any locks on your external doors in your house? If so why?
      Do you lock your car? If so why?
      Do you use a seatbelt? If so why?

      I could go on but hopefully you see the point (if not I’m worried) you cannot fully protect or prevent things happening (in IT or in general life), but you can take reasonable steps to limit the chances of them happening and impact.

    8. Colin says:

      My doors came with locks i did not fit them, or spec them in any way. Much in the same way it came with a letterbox by default also. I also do not bother using its double locking feature or having a chain on the door like many as with a quick swift boot that would still be defeated easily. Thus the “extra security” achieves little

      No i do not lock my car, the car does that itself when the keyless entry fob is more than a few metres from the car. I have no choice in the matter. If it did not have that feature then me locking it or not would depend on the cars value and terms of my insurance. If it was a complete shed of a car that cost me next to nothing then i probably for the most part would not bother.

      Yes i use a seatbelt not by choice but by law, if i had a classic car from the era before seatbelts with no legal requirement to wear one then no i would not wear one.

      I do agree with you about being able to take steps to protect yourself or things in general, however given we do not know what security if any was broken at Talk Talk when the hack took place or if their security is any worse or better than the majority of ISPs it is impossible to say if they did or did not take reasonable steps to protect itself in the first place.

      Unless of course you know Talk Talk systems in detail and can explain what security measure they have/had and do not have. In that case i am happy to listen.

      Sony as an example have beefed up security each time they are hacked, you even at one point now (normally after firmware upgrades) on the PS3 have to use 2 factor authentication to sign in….. They still get hacked though.

      Would you still be calling for Didos head if Talk Talk had NSA levels of encryption to protect customers and still got hacked? If not i fail to understand why as the result would be the same. As the proverbial goes, poop happens, BT, O2 and many other big telcos have been hacked, i doubt any of them had the highest grade encryption and protection you can get though.

  6. Evan Crissall says:

    BT Sport was hacked in October 2015, with up to 1.4 million subscriber records exposed. Sensitive customer details traded on the Dark Web by organised criminals. Yet barely a word reached our ears.

    BT likely pressured the media to keep the scandal under wraps. Threatening to pull its vast advertising spend, to stop any news outlet reporting it to the public, maybe?

    Of course no one in BT admitted liability. No apologies. No heads rolled. No resignations. No sackings. And the story soon swept under the carpet.

    That’s our BT. All about openness, you see!

    1. FibreFred says:

      So BT stopped this hack being reported on (that no-one seems to know about), they pressured everyone on the Internet to keep quiet.

      Oh deduction, please 🙂

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