ABC Managing Director Mark Scott has appointed his two new members of senior management from inside the organisation.
Kate Dundas is the new Director of Radio, replacing Sue Howard, whose departure was one of the first news stories I covered on this blog. Dundas’s appointment is no surprise. She has been acting in the post since Howard’s departure, and was widely tipped as the permanent replacement. Her present post is as Director of People and Learning, in which she was involved in the recent stuff-up around the ABC’s industrial negotiations, which I reported on here. She has previously been head of national networks for ABC Radio. She was the natural successor, and despite the recent industrial imbroglio one hears more good than bad about her from ABC insiders – and that’s about as much as any ABC executive can hope for. In the media release announcing the appointments, Scott emphasised Dundas’s “depth of experience in…strategic reform”, which is what radio needs. Lack of strategic thinking was perceived as being the reason for Howard’s forced departure.
A slightly more surprising appointment (well, I didn’t predict it 🙂 ) is Kate Torney as the new Director of News. Torney is presently Head, Asia Pacific News, and has previously been Executive Producer of the TV program Insiders. She has also worked as Producer Stateline (Victoria), a reporter, producer and Bureau Chief 7.30 Report and a reporter for ABC Radio and TV News. This is the first time that ABC News has been headed up by a woman, and while I wouldn’t want to make too much of that, it may help settle what can be a blokey and at its worst bullying culture in some of the state-based newsrooms. Probably more important is that Torney is an innovator, and new-media savvy, having overseen the introduction of broadcast technology to the Australia Network newsroom. The introduction of automated studios for news has not been trouble free. Torney presumably has been there and done that before. Perhaps it was her new media thinking that gave her the edge over the likely candidates I did identify, Craig McMurtrie and Alan Sunderland, both of whom would have been “steady as she goes” predictable appointments.
What do ABC people think of these appoinitments? Tips and opinions received in confidence at [email protected]