Michelle Guthrie sacked as Managing Director of ABC

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie who replaced Mark Scott

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie who replaced Mark Scott

Michelle Guthrie has been dumped as the ABC's managing director, after the board decided it "was not in the best of the interests" of the broadcaster for her to finish her term. Crikey has kept a close eye on Guthrie's doings, from the foundational anxieties about her track record and close ties to the Murdoch family, to her controversial restructures, to her eventual downfall.

ABC chair Justin Milne said "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".

Under his watch, the ABC introduced News 24 (now the News Channel), iView and developed its digital strategy.

News of Guthrie's departure was reported by The Australian before the decision had been communicated to ABC staff.

The former Google Asia-Pacific, Foxtel, BSkyB and Star TV executive was half way through her five-year term.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was up to the ABC board to decide how the broadcaster is run.

Her mission as managing director, as she saw it, was to ensure the national broadcaster's longevity for future generations.

The Australian has been told flashpoints include two key initiatives of the chairman, the ABC Annual Public Meeting, held in February, and July's announcement of Project Jetstream, a multimillion-dollar idea created to provide a digital infrastructure base for the ABC decades into the future when broadcast television shuts down.

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In a statement issued after her sacking, she made it clear she saw that legacy as one of her signature achievements as managing director.

If it emerges that the board feels an emphasis on traditional ABC strengths - news, especially regional news - is required, it will represent a win for critics.

Ms Guthrie, at a Senate estimates hearing, rejects suggestions made in an opinion piece by former ABC presenter Johnathan Holmes that the public broadcaster is biased towards the left.

June 2018: Ms Guthrie rejects calls from within the Liberal party to privatise the public broadcaster, saying the commercial media sector doesn't need a new "advertising behemoth".

He said Ms Guthrie had "been all but invisible" and when she was approached, all she would respond with "was all jargon".

But worst of all was the apprehension from within the ABC itself that her faltering relationship with the Federal Government was affecting the ABC's bottom line. She insists in a Senate hearing the ABC would still be broadcast via FM and AM frequencies, the viewer access satellite television (VAST) service and online in the areas.

By her own admission, Ms Guthrie has never enjoyed the public spotlight.

Ms Guthrie spent more than four years as a director of Auckland Airport.

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