After serious turmoil unfolded at the public broadcaster last year, resulting in the departure of both managing director Michelle Gutherie and chair Justin Milne, an ABC former managing director has commented on the drama from a governance perspective.
Speaking at the Australian Governance Summit 2019, hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), former managing director Mark Scott said it essentially stemmed from a breakdown of roles.
“What you can see in some of the coverage is a blurred sense of responsibilities between the chair as it existed and the managing director role as it existed in the last year or two,” Scott told journalist and Your Money contributor Helen Dalley of the sidelines.
“When you get the sense that the chair has clear management views and is not just second-guessing management but getting quite involved in management… that sends a warning signal,” he explained.
“I never had a chair that wanted to do my job, I never wanted to do the chair’s job.”
Scott applauded the appointment of incoming managing director Ita Buttrose as a “formidable advocate” and said he hoped the ABC could now rebuild.
“Every politician will want to meet with her and spend time with her. She’ll have no problem getting meetings in Canberra,” he said.
“In the future when an expenditure review committee is tempted by a funding cut to the ABC, they’ll know they have to take on Ita Buttrose.”
Watch the full interview above.