The board of the ABC has dropped Managing Director Michelle Guthrie effective immediately, the broadcaster announced today. Guthrie was appointed for a five year term in December 2015. The shock announcement follows discussions over several months that concluded when “directors resolved that it was not in the best interests of the ABC for Ms Guthrie to continue to lead the organisation,” the ABC said in a statement.

“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,” Chairman of the ABC board Justin Milne said. “This decision has been driven by our commitment to deliver the best possible outcomes for our loyal audiences and the best possible experience for our own people. We understand that transitions can be disruptive in the short-term. However, the ABC is fortunate to have an experienced and capable executive team that will provide continuity in the months ahead.”

Guthrie will be replaced in the short term by David Anderson – who is currently Director, Entertainment & Specialist, responsible for broadcast television networks and associated services, radio music networks, podcasts and specialist radio content. Anderson will serve as Acting Managing Director until the role is filled in the coming months.

“I recognise the challenges involved in transitions of this kind but I am honoured to accept the Board’s invitation and look forward to working with our outstanding people to execute our strategy,” Anderson said.

Limelight has approached ABC Classic FM for comment on how the changes will affect the classical music station.

“The board wishes to thank Michelle for her contribution to the ABC. We are very grateful for all her hard work,” Milne said.