Mark Scott to quit ABC post

ABC managing director Mark Scott has announced he will be leaving in mid-2016, after 10 years leading the organisation.

Mr Scott has endured a tumultuous time in charge of the public broadcaster of late, amid the Zaky Mallah Q&A scandal and 2014 Federal Budget cuts.

He confirmed his departure in an email to ABC staff this afternoon, and said the move should not come as a surprise.

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“I have made no secret of the fact that I think 10 years is a long time to run an organisation, particularly in a sector as dynamic and fast-changing as media,” he said in the email.

In June, as Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and numerous journalists attacked the ABC for their handling of the Zaky Mallah controversy, Mr Scott defended the broadcaster.

It prompted Mr Abbott to ban his ministers from appearing on the Q&A program. That ban has now lapsed.

“In any team, you can be playing on the same side, but often you will be playing in a different position, with a different role and responsibility,” Mr Scott said.

“You’re on the same side, but with a different job to do.

“The ABC is clearly Australian, it’s on the side of Australia.”

The ABC conceded Mr Mallah’s appearance was an error of judgment and Mr Scott said the “risks and uncertainties of having [Mr Mallah] in a live programming environment weren’t adequately considered”.

In the 2014 Federal Budget, the government announced a $254 million funding cut to the ABC over the next five years. 

Then, in February 2015, Mr Scott was forced to make 241 ABC staff redundant in response to the slashing of funding.

“Some of these are distinguished colleagues who have been long contributors in the place and we are sorry to see them go,” Mr Scott said at the time.

– with ABC

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