ABC creates chief technology officer role

COO David Pendleton takes on CTO role on interim basis

The ABC has created a chief technology officer role as part of a wide-ranging transformation program unveiled by the broadcaster’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie.

The CTO role has been established as part of the ‘Investing in Audiences’ strategy, which Guthrie outlined to ABC staff earlier today.

The position will be filled on an interim basis by ABC chief operating officer David Pendleton while the organisation recruits a permanent CTO. Pendleton has been ABC COO since 2004; prior to that he held the position of director of finance and support services. He is scheduled to depart the organisation at the end of the current financial year.

A key element of the strategy launched by Guthrie is the establishment of a ‘Content Fund’. The fund will initially be valued at $20 million in 2017-18, with the ABC intending to eventually boost it to $50 million.

The fund will be open to competitive bids from ABC teams, including in collaboration with external parties. An initial focus will be content targeting regional areas as part of a broader push by Guthrie.

“Regional investment will be a priority,” the ABC MD said. “We’re committing to an injection of funds, ultimately building to $15 million a year, to provide more reporters and content makers, better tools and increased video and digital output. The ABC will recruit up to 80 new content roles in regional areas within 18 months.”

Job cuts

As part of the program, Guthrie flagged job cuts, with some 150 to 200 staff to be made redundant by 30 June this year.

“The ABC aims to reduce management by an average 20 per cent across the Corporation, with support areas to absorb a higher percentage of that cut,” a statement from the broadcaster said. “There will also be a process to address duplications across support roles. The savings will go directly towards the Content Fund. ABC TV and ABC News will also reduce production and support roles as part of internal efficiency targets.”

ABC will reduce its main divisions from 14 to eight. There will be four content divisions — Television, Radio, News and Regional — and four support divisions: Technology, Finance, Engagement and Audiences.

Editorial Policies and Government Relations will be specialist functions reporting directly to Guthrie, the ABC said.

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