Media personality Ita Buttrose has emerged as a leading candidate to take the chair position at the ABC, according to a number of reports this morning.
According to a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, communications minister Mitch Fifield will take Ms Buttrose’s nomination to cabinet this week.
If the former magazine editor is approved, she would be the second woman to take the top job at the public broadcaster after Dame Leonie Kramer in the early 1980s.
Buttrose was the founding editor of women’s magazine Cleo and the youngest person to be appointed editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly. Last year she resigned from her position as a panellist on the Network Ten morning show Studio 10 amid rumours of feud with co-host Denise Drysdale.
The 77-year-old star previously revealed she wanted to spend more time with her five grandchildren, as well as on her writing, but had nothing but praise for the talk show.
“I have had a long involvement with Network Ten, stretching back many years. I’ve had five great years on Studio 10, but it is time for me to move on and focus on other parts of my life, including spending more time with my grandchildren and writing,” she said at the time.
Meanwhile, Channel 10 hailed her as a “legendary media editor, business person, television personality, best-selling author and dedicated community and welfare contributor” in its statement. “Her experience, intelligence, warmth and insights have been an invaluable part of the show,” the network said.
The television host was one of the founding panelists on Studio 10 when it launched in 2013, along with co-hosts Sarah Harris, Joe Hildebrand and Jessica Rowe.
The appointment of Buttrose will end a difficult period for the public broadcaster following the ugly departure of Justin Milne and managing director Michelle Guthrie.
Guthrie sensationally claimed Milne touched her “inappropriately” in a bombshell TV interview last year.
Appearing on ABC’s 4 Corners program, the former boss alleged Milne touched her at a board dinner in November two years ago, adding: “It was inappropriate behaviour.”
When asked by reporter Sarah Ferguson if the behaviour was physical, Guthrie replied: “Inappropriate touching is the best description of it. I felt icky, it was inappropriate, it was unprofessional.”
She claimed the alleged scandal did not affect their working relationship, adding: “But it was certainly in [my] mind that in social settings… I tried to avoid putting myself into situations where that might recur.”