It’s #ABCyours (except when you want answers)

“Integrity… fairness…a great honesty…”  -these are words cited in a Your ABC campaign.

Yesterday it was tough to reconcile them with a decision to remove the managing director with little explanation.

ABC Chairman Justin Milne is yet to fully explain the reasons Michelle Guthrie was spectacularly dumped by the public broadcaster yesterday.

A press release sent far and wide at 9:55am was particularly harsh in its tone, leaving the managing director little dignity after nearly 2.5 years of service.

“The decision follows discussions over several months that concluded when directors resolved that it was not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation,” ABC said in a statement. Milne later added “we are very grateful for all her hard work.”

Some ABC staff chimed in with Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour tweeting “Excellent decision,” and radio host Jon Faine referring to her lack of public defence as an “astonishing fail.”

Justin Milne added little detail in a brief interview on ABC News, noting her “leadership style” was a factor.

“The board felt in the end that her leadership style was not the style that we needed going forward,” he said.

“We needed a different leadership style and that is the decision of the board.”

But he declined to detail what was wrong with her leadership or where she should have done better, even adding “I personally think Michelle has done a good job, and the board has been very happy with many, many of the things that she does.”

He also indicated ABC strategy would not change and bizarrely likened the MD appointment as “a bit of a lottery.”

So while the ABC has been running a sentimental Your ABC campaign, it shut down on the question everybody was asking yesterday: why?

In May ABC programming boss Rebecca Heap was replaced without explanation, the same day as Head of Entertainment Debbie Cuell departed.

Just weeks after a Prime Minister is dumped and ABC journalists question Liberal Party tactics, now the managing director from one of our top cultural organisations is suddenly shown the door.

Leigh Sales tweeted, “As is always the case on a big story, @abc730 has tried to land the key players tonight for interviews — in the case of the ABC today, Chairman Justin Milne and former MD Michelle Guthrie. Neither is available.”

Tony Martin joked: “Have you checked the entire building? They may have been relocated due to hot desking.”

15 Comments:

  1. Fire the whole ABC board if they do not release a public statement detailng the reasons for Gutherie’s firing within the next 24 hours.

    The owners of the ABC (the public) deserve better than smoke screens and vague responses from the board.

    • Why, did he make her perform badly? Every story I have heard or read about her in the last two days pointed to her performing poorly in her job, half those stories coming from within the ABC. Besides, I thought Murdoch would have taken some time off after changing PM’s to be worried about the ABC right now…

    • raymondp”It smacks of Liberal Party/News Corporation intervention. Wasn’t Murdoch in town recently?”

      I am confused, is Ms Guthrie a Murdoch/LNP stooge or a victim of a Murdoch/LNP conspiracy?

    • I think your tin foil hat may be on a bit too tight raymonp – besides which don’t you know that the grand Newscorp conspiracy network is too busy covering up who shot JFK, faking the moon landing, hiding aliens, dosing our population with chemtrails to bother using their mind control techniques on the independent board of the ABC !

  2. She was a terrible performer in public, the staff hated her, several members of the board grew to hate her. She just didn’t have the people skills to herd the cats, unlike Scott who had political connections and the respect of ABC staff. Despite what Spiegelman is spinning she was a bad hire and had to go. Milne tried to get her to resign quietly on the 13th. She refused so she got dumped making everyone look bad. She has no legal recourse she is a $900,000 p.a. contract hire who can be fired at any time without reason by the board. The ABC staff no have one of them as acting chief, and likely as permanent chief.

  3. 8.59am on ABC News. What turned out to be a promo opened with a graphic “Michelle’s Story” followed by a woman living in a tent. Wife, passing by, asked “Is that Michelle Guthrie?”.

  4. So how long now Justin Milne until you appoint Malcolm Turnbull to the job, you know your mate from the OzEmail days who made his fortune investing in it when you were it’s managing director and he a chairman.

    • Yep, second that. According to some sources, Milne obviously wanted to “do a David Hill” and take the gig for himself, but now his mate Malcolm is at a loose end, he seems a shoo-in for it. After all, it pays nearly double what he got as PM and probably has more influence!!!

      • Yep read some of those about Milne wanting to be a David Hill type and do both since posting that. Along with an ex-collegue of Milne’s from the Telstra Days who described him as a “visionary” but describes his management style as “his way or no way.” Almost like they saw Guthrie’s 13 years with Newscorp as a plus but then when she turned out not to be a Newscorp person they lost faith in her.

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