Veteran media professional, Ita Buttrose has been named as chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The appointment is a significant step towards ending the five month period of uncertainly that has followed the sacking of the organization’s chief executive Michelle Guthrie and the subsequent resignation of chairman Justin Milne.
The appointment was announced on Thursday by the cabinet of the Australian federal government. Buttrose becomes the second woman to lead the organization.
“I think my most important role is to restore stability to the management of the organization, to reassure the staff that life will go on as usual and to reassure the board, who’s also gone through a period of unrest, that it’s time to get the ABC functioning again with proper, stable management and good, frank discussion between the chair and whoever is the managing director,” she said at a press conference, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s abc.net.au .
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation last month begun the recruitment process for chief executive. Guthrie has begun legal action against the corporation, alleging unfair dismissal.
Buttrose is regarded as one of the leading women in Australian media, having been a business founder, author and journalist. She was named Australian of the Year in 2013. Career highlights include being the founding editor of Cleo, the youngest ever editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly, editor-in-chief of the (Australian) Daily & Sunday Telegraphs, and the first woman director of News Ltd Australia.
“Ita has the strength, the integrity and the fierce independence that she is known for to take stewardship of this important Australian institution,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference. Morrison, however, revealed that Buttrose’s name was not on an initial shortlist of candidates prepared by an independent panel.
“We have someone who has demonstrated throughout her career that the best way to run a broadcasting and publishing organization is to focus on the people it’s for,” said Morrison.