Google exec to lead TV corporation

Google’s Michelle Guthrie will become the first female managing director of ABC when she takes charge next year

Michelle Guthrie will take over as chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in May

The Singapore-based Google executive Michelle Guthrie has been named Mark Scott’s successor as managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Guthrie will become the organisation’s first female managing director when she takes over in May and, according to the ABC Chairman James Spigelman, is “ideally credentialed to lead the national broadcaster in a digital era”.

The appointment brings an end to Scott’s 10 years at the helm, over which time he has introduced ABC News 24 and started work on the development of new digital platforms. The executive, who announced he was stepping down in September, recently oversaw a string of cuts and passes the baton to Guthrie in what remains a trying time for broadcasters.

Scott passes the baton to Guthrie in what remains a trying time for broadcasters

Speaking to ABC News 24 in her first interview following the appointment, Guthrie underlined the challenges facing the ABC and the industry at large as the transition to digital takes hold. “The key thing is really what audiences really desire”, she said, “and how that is really changing so rapidly with digital transformation. We really need the organisation to respond to those fast-changing audience needs very quickly.”

After graduating with a law degree from the University of Sydney in 1988, Guthrie went on to work primarily in media. Her past employers include Foxtel, Star and BSkyB.

“Michelle brings a unique local and global view to the role, having grown up in Sydney and worked at senior levels here and around the world”, said Spigelman in a staff email. “She brings to the ABC her business expertise, international contacts, record in content-making across an array of platforms, a deep understanding of audience needs, and corporate responsibility for promoting issues like diversity.”