Women for the job
FEMALE board directors with regional experience are joining the ABC and SBS boards as the federal government dramatically increases female representation and attempts to counter metropolitan bias.
Joining the ABC as nonexecutive directors are Vanessa Guthrie, a West Australian mining and energy executive, and Georgina Somerset, a Queensland regional strategist who runs family beef cattle farming business.
Ms Guthrie is chair of the Minerals Council of Australia, deputy chair of the Western Australia Cricket Association and a director of the Murlpirrmurra Connection, while Ms Somerset is a director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Queensland and Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service.
“In making appointments, the government has been conscious of the need to ensure a balanced geographic and gender representation on the board,” Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said, filling vacancies that had been open since June.
Senator Fifield said the replacement for outgoing ABC chairman Jim Spigelman would be announced in “due course”.
The board changes come as the ABC starts to transform under managing director Michelle Guthrie, who is set to unveil the findings of a transformative strategy review next month to create a flatter management structure and return money to programming.
The government has appointed Emeritus Professor Sally Walker, a former vicechancellor of Deakin University, and George Savvides, former managing director of Medibank Private and chairman of World Vision Australia, as nonexecutive directors of SBS. Mr Savvides becomes deputy chair following the recent appointment of his predecessor Bulent Hass Dellal as chairman.
In 2011 Professor Walker was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her contribution to education and to the advancement of women.
Vanessa Guthrie in Perth