One senior executive departing doesn’t raise eyebrows, two in a week though is a clean-out, and although the departure of the ABC chief operating officer David Pendleton has been mooted for several months, the timing of his departure, coming a week after that of head of ABC TV Richard Finlayson, looks like Michelle Guthrie is clearing the decks on the executive floors of the ABC. The broadcaster said Pendleton had notified the ABC “that after 20 rewarding years he will bring his career at the national broadcaster to a close”. In a curiously worded statement, the ABC said it “acknowledges the pivotal role Mr Pendleton has played in shaping the ABC’s operational base and in its digital expansion”.

“He has provided outstanding service to a succession of ABC Boards and Managing Directors and his operational knowledge and financial expertise will be sorely missed. His input, guidance and leadership have been invaluable in managing one of the most complex media organisations in the country.”

Gurthrie and the ABC board (and the Turnbull government) have three positions at least to fill — the impending vacancy in the chairman’s role when Jim Spigelman departs and the roles of head of ABC TV (which will be replaced with a head of content) and the chief operating officer’s role. Who will be next?

Peter Fray

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