The BBC is spending about £10m a year on executives who are hired on a contract basis, and these "hidden" contracts do not form part of the corporation's £1bn wage bill, the Times has reported.
Although the corporation admitted that it hired 139 staff as commercial contractors and that 29 were paid six-figure fees at an average of £150,000 each, it did not reveal their names.
The Times has revealed that Anthony Rose, controller of online media group and vision, has been on contract since three years and is paid on a daily basis. Insiders suggest that his salary is over £300,000 a year. The BBC has always declined to specify Rose's pay as it was "confidential" and would be a subject of media comment.
Some recruitment agencies have dismissed the concept of contractors with the corporation as "a standing joke". Colin Rhodes, director of Vidico, noted that the BBC was settling on contractors in order to avoid lengthy recruitment processes.
However, a BBC spokesman said these are commercial arrangements with contractors who offer specific skills not available in the BBC at an affordable cost.