The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) board has announced the departure of Michelle Guthrie from her role as managing director of the pubcaster.
Guthrie (pictured) told the ABC that she felt her ouster was not justified and that she is now considering her legal options.
She was two and a half years into her five-year contract, and served as the ABC’s first female MD.
The decision came after months of discussions, concluding with the board’s decision that Guthrie’s continued leadership would not be in the best interests of the company, according to a statement.
“In resolving to seek fresh leadership, the board’s foremost consideration was the long-term interests of our own people and the millions of Australians who engage with ABC content every week,” said chairman Justin Milne in the release. “The board wishes to thank Michelle for her contribution to the ABC. We are very grateful for all her hard work.”
In an interview with the ABC, Milne added that Guthrie’s relationship with the Australian government “could have been better.”
“I think the relationship between the ABC and government is, on the one hand, difficult because of course we need to be independent from government, but it is an important relationship because the government funds us,” he said.
In the same interview, Milne said political leaders had not pressured the board or had any involvement in removing Guthrie.
The board has begun a formal search for Guthrie’s successor, which will include both internal and external candidates. The selection of a new managing director will be made by the ABC board independently of the government or opposition, in accordance with Australian law.
David Anderson, director of entertainment and specialist at the ABC, will fill the role as acting managing director during the search for Guthrie’s replacement.
In his current role, Anderson is responsible for the broadcast television networks and associated services, radio music networks, podcasts and specialist radio content.
(Photo courtesy of ABC Media)