04/09/2018 10:53 BST | Updated 04/09/2018 11:25 BST

Richard Branson Dismisses Suggestion Chris Evans’ Move To Virgin Radio Was Motivated By Money

Instead, he claimed Chris’ upcoming move was fuelled by a desire for 'a change'.

Richard Branson has dismissed the idea that Chris Evans’ move from BBC Radio 2 to Virgin Radio was motivated by salary.

Speaking on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’, Richard said the broadcaster would “value freedom over salary.”

When discussing Chris’ potential new salary at Virgin, Richard said: “I have no idea what he earns at the BBC or even what he’s earning at Virgin. I think he just wanted a change.”

Richard claimed he had no idea what Chris earned at the BBC

He continued: “Virgin Radio gives him a lot more freedom I suspect than he would have at the BBC. And Chris is somebody that I think would value freedom over salary.

“So I think it’s fantastic for Virgin Radio. Virgin Radio’s back in Britain and I think that this will put it firmly on the map.”

Chris was the second highest-paid star at the BBC, behind ‘Match Of The Day’ host Gary Lineker, earning between £1.6-1.7 million at the corporation last year.

This is more than three times the amount earned by the BBC’s highest-earning woman, Claudia Winkleman, with the gender pay gap at the company being a contentious issue ever since its top paid employees’ salaries were first publicised in 2017.

Neil Mockford via Getty Images
Chris Evans

Meanwhile, speaking about how he convinced Chris to join Virgin, Richard Branson told ‘GMB’: “Well, 30 years ago I jumped on Concorde, British Airways Concorde - much against my best wishes, because [Chris] was travelling to New York - to try to persuade him to come and join Virgin Radio, and we ended up being successful then.

“30 years later, I was doing an interview with him on the Beeb, and I know I shouldn’t have, maybe it was a slight discourtesy to the Beeb to steal one of their people, but I did suggest that maybe a change of scenery would be good for him. Great to have him on board.”

Pundits have already begun speculating about who could take the prized BBC radio 2 spot, with fans backing Sara Cox, while the current bookies’ favourite is Zoe Ball.

‘Good Morning Britain’ airs every weekday from 6am.