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ABC boss Guthrie to make big cuts

ABC boss Guthrie to make big cuts

The forbidden word at the ABC—BIAS

ABC sources said the plan to “take a scythe” to the broadcaster’s layers of management could eventually save up to $50 million a year when fully implemented. The savings would be invested in original television and radio programming and to further deepen the ABC’s push into mobile and digital platforms. “We are talking big savings,” one source familiar with the plans said.

This all sounds good but it remains to be seen just how Ms Guthrie will dislodge the “middle management” that have concreted in their sacred turf for generations. In all the changes Mr Guthrie wants to make there is still one concern missing—BIAS!

Source: Fairfax

ABC boss Michelle Guthrie aims to save millions by taking axe to management

ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie is poised to announce a sweeping overhaul of the broadcaster’s management structures that is designed to free up tens of millions of dollars to invest in programming.

Ms Guthrie’s plan – which she has been developing since she arrived at the ABC last May – will be presented to the ABC board for final approval next week, with an official announcement scheduled for next month.

The focus of the restructure will be middle management, with significant cuts expected to staffing levels in areas such as the ABC’s finance, property and information technology departments.

Middle managers will also be cut from the ABC’s radio, news and television divisions.

Sources said Ms Guthrie, who previously worked as an executive at Google and News Corporation, believes the ABC was “overly consultative”, “bureaucratic” and “over managed” and needs to be streamlined.

The overhaul comes after a tumultuous start to the job for Ms Guthrie, who has been attacked for cuts to science program Catalystand programming changes to Radio National.

Veteran ABC broadcaster Phillip Adams told Fairfax Media recently: “On the Richter scale of dread this is the most intense I’ve ever seen.”

The management overhaul will be a landmark moment for Ms Guthrie because most of the controversial decisions taken under her leadership were in train before her arrival or driven by executives beneath her.

Sources said the restructure could help win over wary program makers who have long believed ABC management is bloated and would support more money for original content. But others cautioned that any change to ABC operations is difficult and often fiercely resisted.

During the development of the restructure there has been a flurry of senior departures from the ABC, including director of television Richard Finlayson, chief operating officer David Pendleton, director of digital networks Angela Clark and the head of ABC international Lynley Marshall.

In November Ms Guthrie appointed two consultants, former Foxtel and Sky News executive Jim Rudder and business transformation expert Debra Frances, to conduct a wide-ranging review of the ABC’s operations and advise her on possible changes.

As part of the overhaul, Ms Guthrie has explored creating a new position, known as the chief content officer, to oversee all news, television and radio content.

This would demote the traditionally powerful division heads, who would no longer report directly to her.

Fairfax Media understands this idea has been shelved for now, but could be revived after the initial restructure is bedded down. The first stage of the restructure will focus on back office functions with later changes to come for the content divisions.

The restructure includes the creation of a new high-powered executive position known as director of audience engagement. This role will make use of modern analytics tools to ensure the ABC is catering to the media habits of the different parts of its audience.

Approving the plan will be one of ABC chair James Spigelman’s final significant decisions before he departs the broadcaster next month after five years in the role. The Turnbull government is currently considering his replacement.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Bill 17/02/2017, 7:08 am

    NAB and Westpac reported to be unwilling to bail out Slater and Gordon in a debt for equity deal.

    We can but hope that if that company folds, some disaffected partner or employee will attempt to make a buck after finding the ‘missing’ files that give ALL the details surrounding the departure of one of their ‘star’ lawyers some years ago and why part of that lawyer’s departure deal with the company was that she surrender her practising certificate and why she has never practised law ever since.

    Of course the MSM will not find any such information newsworthy, but sites like this one, Kangaroo Court and Michael Smith’s blog would ensure it couldn’t be buried.

  • Joe Blogs 17/02/2017, 7:16 am

    Bias – and fake news, fake journos, lies, liars, PC, lack of ethics … and so it goes.

  • Peter Sandery 17/02/2017, 7:49 am

    Whilst I agree with those who point out the “challenges” Ms Guthrie faces, surely she should be lauded for at least trying!

    • Penguinte 17/02/2017, 8:50 am

      Agree PS! Just hope it’s not fake news leaked to stabilise and placate the Listeners while she gets her feet and snout in the trough!

    • Joe Blogs 19/02/2017, 1:24 am

      If she’s incapable or unwilling to make the wholesale changes needed for balance, sack her and get someone who’s up to the task. “Trying” is an excuse for failure.

  • Spinbuster 17/02/2017, 8:51 am
  • Robert TG 17/02/2017, 10:04 am

    In a 1.2 Billion dollar budget, 50 million is less than 5 percent. “UP TO” 5 percent. Which would free up tens of millions for programming …….where’s the savings? That just spending the 1.2 Billion differently.

  • Deano 17/02/2017, 5:25 pm

    Obeying their charter might help them justify their huge budget but the subject must never be raised.

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