Dr Mumbo

The ABC MD guessing game

Media writers of Australia are very focused on one appointment at the moment: the new ABC managing director.

Out on a limb: Media writers very keen to name Mark Scott's successor.

Out on a limb: Media writers are very keen to name Mark Scott’s successor

The public broadcaster’s head honcho Mark Scott is set to quit next year after a decade in the chair, and journalists from a variety of publications are increasingly climbing out further and further on the metaphorical limb to name his successor…

The first to climb out on the limb was The Australian’s Darren Davidson who last week named Australian-born media executive Jay Hunt, as the frontrunner.

Hunt is the current chief creative of British public broadcaster Channel 4, but this appointment has since been ruled out by sources at the ABC.

Fairfax’s Matthew Knott cautiously ventured beyond the safety of the tree trunk yesterday (but not as far as Davidson) noting that Hunt was not in the race, but also stating that former News Corp CEO Kim Williams had divided the board and was unlikely to get the nod.

Williams divisive? Who’d have thunk it… 

Knott and Davidson have today been joined by AFR Rear Window columnist Joe Aston, who by his own acknowledgement has climbed out the further on the branch than anyone else.

Aston is naming Michelle Guthrie, managing director of agencies at Google in Singapore as the replacement.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 11.49.02 am

Aston makes the call naming Guthrie

Guthrie is a former director of legal for Foxtel who has held roles as CEO of Star TV in Asia and as managing director of Providence Equity Partners. 

If it’s true that Guthrie has been given the nod then it will be quite a scoop Aston has gotten himself, particularly as its understood that ABC chairman Jim Spigelman has read board members the riot act on speaking to journalists about the process.

It is also worth noting that Knott has since followed his colleague reporting on the SMH and Age that it is Guthrie, although is citing Aston as the source.

The ABC this morning was remaining mum on the speculation (as did Google) but it’s understood that the plan is to announce the replacement before Australia Day (although if Aston is right then you can expect that timetable to accelerate now).

It will be interesting to see if anyone else is willing to play the ABC MD guessing game.


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