ABC staff are rounding on ousted boss Michelle Guthrie

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Ms Guthrie was announced as the new managing director in December 2015, and she began in the role in May 2016. She came under fire in March after it was rumoured she was cutting 200 journalists' jobs in a massive restructure of the company, with the mass redundancies confirmed in the months afterwards. And, perhaps more importantly, is the appointment of a person who has spent the past four years looking after relationships with advertisers at Google a prelude to at least a partial commercialisation of the assets of the ABC?

Guthrie is considering her legal options.

ABC chairman Justin Milne made the shock announcement, saying the directors resolved it was not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation.

It was enough that the board wanted to implement a different strategy and that it didn't like her Canberra lobbying efforts or her management style.

"The board wishes to thank Michelle for her contribution to the ABC", said Milne. She wasn't asked and didn't speak directly about her time at News Corp, but she did address questions about a partial commercialisation of the ABC, which we and others have speculated could be on the cards given her commercial experience.

Evening newsreader Juanita Phillips also weighed in on Twitter, saying: "Whoever the next MD is, they need a deep understanding of the history, objective and importance of an independent public broadcaster, and be ready to fight bare-knuckled to protect it".

The termination of Guthrie's appointment comes after reported tension between Guthrie and the ABC chair Justin Milne.

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The stunning statement comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was informed of the decision to axe Guthrie last night by Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

"I've got to say, I'm perplexed".

But worst of all was the apprehension from within the ABC itself that her faltering relationship with the Federal Government was affecting the ABC's bottom line.

"This seems like a great chance to bring in someone who will help the ABC become more fair and balanced".

"In resolving to seek fresh leadership, the board's foremost consideration was the long-term interests of our own people and the millions of Australians who engage with ABC content every week", Mr Milne said.

"I am devastated by the board's decision to terminate my employment despite no claim of wrongdoing on my part". While my contract permits the board to terminate my appointment without cause and with immediate effect, I believe there is no justification for the board to trigger that termination clause.

In her statement Guthrie said at no point were issues about the transformation she was leading were raised with her.