Australian broadcaster ABC's board sacks managing director

Sheila Mcguire
September 25, 2018

On her watch the ABC embarked on a transformation program that saw it invest in digital initiatives, often to increase output of "lifestyle" content, de-fund some "harder" traditional television and radio programs, and collaborated with commercial media organisations on major investigations.

She is considering legal action after being kicked out of the job two-and-a-half years into her five-year term.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was told on Sunday night Ms Guthrie was going to be sacked, but said the ABC board made decisions independently.

Ousted ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has responded to her shock axing, saying she is "devastated" at the decision made by the national broadcaster's board of directors and is now considering her legal options.

Clearly she has been engaged in a deteriorating relationship with the ABC board and its chairman, Justin Milne, and there has been lots of chatter that their respective visions for the organisation didn't overlap.

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Michelle Guthrie has been a controversial figure at the ABC as she managed tighter budgets along with leading expansion into new business areas.

Melbourne radio host Jon Faine, who's been at the broadcast for almost 30 years and three months ago attacked Guthrie saying he was "sick of getting it ripped apart because of the failure of our managers" and being "done over" by the government, this morning launched another attack on the departed MD saying her tenure had been an "astonishing fail".

In a statement released this morning, the ABC Board announced that it believes Guthrie's leadership is no longer in the best interests of the broadcaster.

Radio host Jon Faine launched an incredible on-air spray at Michelle Guthrie, whose position as the public broadcaster's managing director was terminated on Monday.

Sally Neighbour, executive producer of 4 Corners, tweeted: "excellent decision".

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David Anderson, a 30-year ABC veteran, will be acting managing director while a formal search process involving internal and external candidates begins.

Appointed to the role in May 2016, Guthrie was the ABC's first female managing director.

Asked if he was among them, Mr Anderson said he was not.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said she was perplexed by the decision and the board's statements had not clarified it.

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