Michelle Guthrie “devastated” by ABC axing

Former Assistant Editor

Michell Guthrie has released a statement following the termination of her employment as managing director of the ABC this morning.

The board announced her sacking, citing a desire for “fresh leadership.”

Guthrie, who was the ABC’s first female managing director, was relieved two years into her five-year term.

In her statement, shared by 7:30 presenter Leigh Sales, Guthrie spoke of the “internal barriers” she had to break down barriers within the organisation during her two years in charge.

“I knew I had an enormous challenge in front of me to break down some of the internal barriers to progress as well as continuing to deliver quality programming for all Australians,” she said.

“In the first two years of my five-year term, I have invested more in investigative journalism, more in regional journalism, more in innovative content, and increased the efficiency and effectiveness of work across the ABC.”

“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.

Guthrie also said she’s considering legal options as she doesn’t believe there was justification for the board to trigger her termination clause.

“My term concludes on 4 July, 2021,” she said. “While my contract permits the Board to terminate my appointment without cause and with immediate effect, I believe there is no justification for the Board to trigger that termination clause. I am considering my legal options.”

She also indicated that she hadn’t received any feedback regarding her effectiveness in delivering her mandate in the role, and finally wished the ABC success moving forward.

“I wanted to continue the transformation of the ABC and to support the great work of the ABC’s dedicated and passionate employees to ensure our continuing trust, quality and distinctiveness as the source of Australian culture, conversations and stories.”

“To me, it is the content produced by the ABC that is of primary importance to Australians, with the technology used to deliver that content a distant second.

“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 that strategy.

She finished by wishing everyone at the ABC all success in the future.

“The ABC is a great Australian institution that has the trust and support of the great majority of Australians. I wish everyone at the ABC every success in the future as they continue their mission to keep all Australians informed and entertained.”

Guthrie has been replaced in the interim by ABC’s director entertainment & specialist David Anderson.

Read the statement in full below:

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