Michelle Guthrie Fired From Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Deanna Kelley
September 25, 2018

"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", ABC Board Chairman Justine Milne said.

"That is possibly an area that could have been better".

In a statement to staff the board said it had determined it was "not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation".

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.

"In an ideal world, I would like to see our relationship - I think the relationship between the ABC and Government is, on the one hand, hard because of course we need to be independent from government, but it is an important relationship because the government funds us".

"I think it's different to what happened with [Malcolm] Turnbull, in that there isn't a voting selection here that I'm aware of that is one person over an another", he said.

"(But) the government, I must say, has provided no pressure, no opinion, has not been involved in this decision.

Ms Guthrie's contract contained a clause allowing the board to sack her without a reason at any time, which they did on Monday. "This is entirely a board decision".

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Senior journalist Sally Neighbour, executive producer of 4 Corners, tweeted: "Excellent decision".

The national broadcaster's chairman Justin Milne and seven other board members deposed the ABC's $891,000-a-year managing director, following a clash over its direction and a series of controversial calls.

Appointed to the role in May 2016, Guthrie was the ABC's first female managing director.

Guthrie has been a divisive figure during her tenure as ABC boss.

"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", Ms Guthrie said.

David Anderson who is now ABC's head of specialist and factual will stand in as the interim managing director.

"Michelle challenged us in a lot of ways to be better, challenged us to free up more money for content and went about that over the last two-and-a-half years."

Mr Milne said the decision follows discussions with directors and Ms Guthrie, 53, over "several months".

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