Ita Buttrose tipped to chair ABC

Media doyenne Ita Buttrose is tipped to become the next chair of the ABC, filling the void left by the exit of Justin Milne.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age report Communications Minister Mitch Fifield will submit her nomination to cabinet this week.

Her name was tipped by the newspapers last month, despite not being included in a shortlist by global recruitment firm Korn Ferry.

Buttrose, 77, carries extensive firsthand media experience including at Cleo, the Australian Women’s Weekly, The Daily Telegraph and was the first female director of News Limited.  Television experience includes Ovation channel, Beauty & the Beast & Studio 10.  She has an Order of Australia, an OBE and received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NSW Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism in 2017.

If cabinet approves Ms Buttrose’s appointment, she would be only the second woman to take the top job at the public broadcaster after Dame Leonie Kramer in the early 1980s. A first duty would be appointing a permanent managing director.

“The government is undertaking a process to appoint a new ABC chair,” a government spokesman said. “No decision has been made and an announcement will be made in due course.”


  1. Ita may be classy. She may be a national treasure. But she is also a product of the same Packer-Murdoch media mindset as Michele Guthrie and she expounds many of the same views. There is zero reason to believe that appointing a better-dressed, more well-spoken version of the same beast is going to result in any better outcome.

    • I don’t think as in day-to-day ‘manager’. Chair(wo)man of the Board doesn’t usually do that. She did a pretty good job, however, running Cleo, the Sydney Telegraphs, the womens’ mags, and on the Board of News Ltd.

  2. … so let me see – Michelle Guthrie was a “bad” choice because she once worked for a billionaire media magnate, but Ita Buttrose is a “good” choice because she once worked for another billionaire media magnate? (and the managing director gig is a 5-year contract, not “permanent”!)

    • It actually says: “despite not being included in a shortlist by global recruitment firm Korn Ferry,” however still remarkable that Korn and Bryan Ferry got together to do this. Honestly my money is on Jimmy Barnes singing the Cold Chisel song Ita over and over again to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield down the phone line (with amended lyrics), to sway him.

      “Every day and every night
      She’s the only one we can depend upon
      I believe, I believe, in what she says
      Yes I do
      I believe, I believe, at the end of the day
      Her management’ll get me through
      To every person through the land
      There is no-one else they can depend upon
      How could I not believe, when Ita tells me too.”

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