Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

ABC sacks Michelle Guthrie as Managing Director

ABC sacks Michelle Guthrie as Managing Director

In a statement issued shortly after the ABC announced her sacking this morning, Guthrie said she was "devastated" by the board's decision despite there being no wrongdoing on her part.

He said he could not provide any further insight into why the ABC board removed Ms Guthrie.

"That said, I think Michelle tried hard and was involved with government", he said.

Long-time ABC critic and Liberal MP Eric Abetz said Guthrie's replacement must bring to an end "the frolics masquerading as news and "comedy" from some ABC employees".

Milne conceded Guthrie had done a "pretty good" job turning the ABC towards its digital future.

Morrison said it wasn't his place to comment on the efficacy of Guthrie as managing director, again pointing to the board as the folks in charge of that call.

"That's what they're responsible for, and I'll hold them to account for that".

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

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The board is appointed by the federal government, with Milne, who is also chairman of MYOB and a former NBNCo director, chosen for the role by his friend and former PM Malcolm Turnbull previous year.

Ms Guthrie, a former Foxtel and Google executive and media lawyer, has been a controversial figure at the ABC as she managed tighter budgets along with leading expansion into new business areas. She was smart and we were excited.

She stepped down in March this year to focus on her role at the ABC.

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

She was also critical of the government's competitive neutrality inquiry into how the ABC and the SBS operate alongside their commercial counterparts.

While it's nice to see so many people invested in the succession plan of the entertainment industry staple, the announcement does leave us with a few questions; like why did the Board feel the public should not be told the reason behind its decision to remove Guthrie?

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

The national broadcaster says the board of directors resolved that it was "not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie" to continue to lead the organisation.

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