The executive was responding to several high-profile comments in support of Clarkson, from supporters such as the Prime Minister and the former culture secretary, Maria Millar.
The comments by the senior exec., who remains unnamed, will do nothing to calm tensions as the BBC prepares to launch an investigation into the claims the Clarkson punched a Top Gear producer during a row.
In the Mail on Sunday, the executive said that Clarkson’s behaviour was self-destructive and that he needed help. He also compared those people who turned a blind eye to the presenter’s antics to people that turned the other way when Savile was at the BBC, a comparison likely to stir strong reactions from all sides.
Clarkson is alleged to have hit producer Oisin Tymon in the face in an argument over a lack of hot food.
Commenting om the Mail on Sunday article, a BBC spokesperson said:
The BBC's position is the one we set out in a statement last week.
We have an investigation led by Ken MacQuarrie to establish the facts and people should wait for the outcome of that.