ABC sacks Michelle Guthrie as Managing Director

Ivan Schwartz
September 24, 2018

Guthrie responded to recent calls to privatise the ABC, and cited a preliminary report from Deloitte she commissioned, which she said found the ABC contributed $1 billion to the economy and indirectly created 2500 jobs. "We are very grateful for all her hard work", he said.

Guthrie was named managing director of the ABC in December 2015, following her role at Google Asia, where she was managing director of agencies.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield noted Ms Guthrie's departure.

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.

The Australian spoke to a number of current and former ABC and industry executives who requested anonymity.

"I am devastated by the board's decision to terminate my employment despite no claim of wrongdoing on my part".

4 Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour tweeted it was an "excellent decision" and broadcaster John Faine accused her of an "astonishing fail" in not championing the cause of the ABC more prominently.

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"I am hopeful that the new managing director will ensure that that the Ultimo-centric broadcaster is more in line with the aspirations of Australians including by delivering benefit to the taxpayer, stopping the left-wing bias and bringing an end to the frolics masquerading as news and "comedy" from some ABC employees".

'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.

"At no point have any issues been raised with me about the transformation being undertaken, the Investing in Audiences strategy and my effectiveness in delivering against that strategy".

Asked about ABC websites carrying online advertising, something sure to infuriate the ABC's competitors, Guthrie said it was too early to make pronouncements.

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?

"The board has given long and detailed consideration to this serious matter".

Other reports by GizPress

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