Michelle Guthrie's controversial tenure as ABC managing director has been summarily ended by the board this morning, with the former Google and Murdoch executive sacked because "it was not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation," according to an ABC board statement. Guthrie began in May 2016 and was barely half-way through her five-year term. Guthrie is the first MD to fail to complete her term since Jonathan Shier resigned in 2001. ABC veteran David Anderson will act as interim managing director while a search is undertaken for a replacement.
Guthrie, who had limited experience in broadcasting and none in journalism, was criticised for being out of her depth in the top job at the national broadcaster, an impression not helped by claims she spent much of her time between Singapore, where her family is based, and Sydney. Her decisions around the allocation of resourcing also drew fire, with the August launch of ABC Life, a commercial media-style lifestyle news project, seeming to confirm a campaign being run by commercial rivals and the Liberal Party that the ABC was unfairly competing with for-profit media companies. Guthrie was also criticised for focusing on managerialist bunk rather than delivering better content.