David Anderson and Ita Buttrose.

The ABC board today confirmed David Anderson will lead the organisation as MD for the next five years, assuring stability and continuity after the recent turbulence.

Formerly director, entertainment and specialist, Anderson has been acting in the post since last September when Michelle Guthrie was sacked by the board then headed by Justine Milne.

Ita Buttrose, who replaced Milne as ABC chair, said today: “Mr Anderson is an exceptional media professional with strong content, digital and strategic experience.

“The ABC board resolved unanimously to appoint David Anderson following a national and international search that produced many impressive candidates.

“With almost 30 years of service, David’s knowledge of the ABC is unsurpassed. He has a deep understanding of audience needs and the board is confident he has the skills and ability to respond to the challenges of a changing media environment.

“We believe he is the right person to lead the corporation at this time. David already enjoys the trust and confidence of the ABC leadership team and staff and he is ideally placed to continue to provide strong leadership and direction.”

Initial responses to the appointment were highly positive. Shaun Micallef said on Twitter: “David came down from his office to hang off one of the ropes that helped tilt the set for (a wine cellar) sketch some 20 years ago. True story.”

Former ABC drama development manager Greg Waters said: “He was a great supporter of creatives and original content. I am delighted he will lead the ABC.”

Steve Bibb, former head of ABC factual, said: “A very good move for the ABC.”

ITV Studios Australia MD David Mott: “First smart move by the board . A very smart TV exec.”

Arguably top of the agenda for the new MD will be making the “tough decisions” on staffing and services which he flagged last month as the ABC absorbs the impact of the three-year funding freeze of $83.7 million.

Anderson commented: “It is a privilege to be appointed to the role, overseeing one of Australia’s most loved and respected cultural institutions.

“I look forward to continuing to lead the ABC and allowing our talented teams to get on with what the ABC does best: serving the Australian people, delivering Australia’s finest agenda-setting news and current affairs, hosting conversations and telling stories that look and sound like Australia.”

In his previous role he was responsible for TV networks ABC TV, ABC Kids, ABC Comedy and ABC ME as well as catch-up platform iview and the radio music networks.

Earlier he served as director of TV, director of digital networks and director of strategy and planning.

Former head of children’s Michael Carrington has been acting director, entertainment and specialist. That post is now expected to be advertised.

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