Fired ABC boss Michelle Guthrie considers legal options, claiming ‘no justification’ for dismissal

Michelle Guthrie, ABC’s managing director who was fired by the board this morning, is considering her legal options, claiming the board had no grounds to terminate her employment.

Earlier this morning, the national broadcaster announced Guthrie’s employment had been terminated immediately, after it decided her leadership was no longer in the interests of the ABC, its staff and audiences.

Guthrie is looking at her legal options

In a statement published by a number of Fairfax Media journalists as well as in The Age and the AFR, Guthrie said she was “devastated” by the decision.

“When I joined ABC in 2016, I knew I had an enormous challenge in front of me to break down some of the internal barriers to progress as well as continuing to deliver quality programming for all Australians. In the first two years of my five year term, I have invested more in investigative journalism, more in regional journalism, more in innovative content and increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the ABC,” she said.

Guthrie went on to say while her contract, which was set to conclude on July 4 2021, can be terminated with immediate effect and without cause, she felt there was “no justification” for use of the clause.

Guthrie was named managing director of the ABC in December 2015, following her role at Google Asia, where she was managing director of agencies.

“I am considering my legal options,” Guthrie said.

“At no point has any issue been raised with me about the transformation being undertaken, the Investing in Audiences strategy and my effectiveness in delivering against that strategy.”

The termination of Guthrie’s contract put an end to two-and-a-half years of controversy. Since her appointment, Guthrie has been accused of being a “Murdoch-hatchet woman” and “Google-ising” the ABC.

In Guthrie’s time, the ABC underwent a major restructure, slashing between 150 and 200 jobs in early 2017. She then later announced a re-structure which saw the organisation divided into three divisions based on genres of content rather than platforms.

When the Federal budget was announced in May this year, the government revealed ABC spending cuts of $84m over three years, with a further $43m to be taken from news and current affairs. The ABC later announced up to 37 redundancies to fund content and digital platform investment. Her abrupt departure also comes as the ABC and SBS undergo an efficiency review.


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