ABC Australia MD fired halfway through term

ABC Australia managing director Melissa Guthrie (pictured) has been fired halfway into her five-year term with the public broadcaster.

ABC chairman Justin Milne, who made the announcement, has said that directors of the board agreed it was not in the best interests of the broadcaster for Guthrie to remain in her role.

No specific reasoning has been given, but Milne told local reporters that Guthrie’s “leadership style” came into account and that her relationship with the Australian government “could have been better”, according to ABC News.

Guthrie has said the termination was not justified, and that she is considering her legal options.

ABC director of entertainment and specialist David Anderson is to serve as interim managing director, while the board commences a formal search for Guthrie’s replacement.

The ousted exec said in a statement that she is “devastated” by the board’s decision “despite no claim of wrongdoing on my part.”

“As the first female managing director of the ABC, I felt a tremendous responsibility and unique privilege to lead Australia’s most important cultural institution. At all times, I have promoted the ABC’s importance to the community, including having to defend and protect the ABC’s independence,” she said.

Guthrie claimed that “at no point” have any issues been raised with her about “the transformation being undertaken”.

Last year, the exec spearheaded a AUS$50m audience investment strategy that saw the broadcaster investing in new content and creating 80 new jobs in rural and regional Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the government will not look for further explanation around Guthrie’s termination from the board, noting that, “They are an independent board. It’s their job. They would need to have gone through all the proper processes to make the decision they have.”

Guthrie joined ABC in May 2016. She was previously managing director for agencies across Asia-Pacific for Google, based in Singapore. Prior to that, she had served a number of exec roles at Foxtel and Star TV, where she replaced James Murdoch as CEO.

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