Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Michelle Guthrie's challenging years as the head of the ABC

EPA-EFE  REX  Shutterstock Michelle Guthrie Australian Broadcasting Corporation Managing Director Michelle Guthrie Melbourne Australia- 19 Jun 2018ABC (Austr CREDIT JULIAN SMITH EPA-EFE REX Shutterstock
| 24 September, 2018, 22:35

Guthrie was appointed to a five-year term as managing director in December 2015, the first woman to hold the role in the broadcaster's history.

The major question following the sacking of ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is why?

- 'I've got to say, I'm perplexed.

Multiple editorial complaints were lodged by the Prime Minister's Office and by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield during Ms Guthrie's tenure.

"I am devastated by the board's decision to terminate my employment despite no claim of wrongdoing on my part", the now former managing director of the ABC said in a written statement.

'I believe there is no justification for the board to trigger that termination clause.

"I personally had two conversations with Michelle Guthrie about why she would not be our champion, why she would not engage, she said 'it's not my style",' he said.

Senior journalist Sally Neighbour, executive producer of 4 Corners, tweeted: "Excellent decision". "This is entirely a board decision".

Mr Milne said her relationship with the government was a factor, but there had been no government pressure. And, perhaps more importantly, is the appointment of a person who has spent the past four years looking after relationships with advertisers at Google a prelude to at least a partial commercialisation of the assets of the ABC?


Milne said the ABC must now push ahead with its "Jetstream" project, which involves building the digital infrastructure of the future.

Anderson will serve as acting managing director while Guthrie's permanent replacement is found. Anderson is now Director, Entertainment & Specialist and has worked in the media industry for more than 30 years.

"I want you to know that I am passionate about the ABC's goal, public broadcasting and providing valuable services to Australians every day", he wrote.

In her statement Guthrie said at no point were issues about the transformation she was leading were raised with her. We'll update this story when we know more.

Guthrie had been at loggerheads with the government after slamming a vote by the Liberal Party's federal council calling for the privatisation of the ABC, except for its regional services.

"This includes refocusing daily journalism away from lifestyle content and "clickbait" and back towards news and current affairs", the union said.

Michelle Guthrie's lack of passion for the ABC and her tin-ear will not be missed by ABC staff.

He said it was an honour to lead the corporation.

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