It was an issue that Ms Guthrie took up with gusto, sending an email to staff on her first day on the job calling for greater representation of women and multicultural communities in both the ABC's staff and its stories.
However he said political leaders did not pressure the ABC or have any involvement in its decision to sack Ms Guthrie.
In response, Guthrie said she is devastated by the Board's decision to terminate her employment "despite no claim of wrongdoing on my part". "However, the ABC is fortunate to have an experienced and capable executive team that will provide continuity in the months ahead".
Michelle Guthrie has been a controversial figure at the ABC as she managed tighter budgets along with leading expansion into new business areas.
David Anderson, now director, entertainment and specialist, will serve as acting MD until a new appointment is made in the coming months.
Guthrie had been at loggerheads with the government after slamming a vote by the Liberal Party's federal council calling for the privatisation of the ABC, except for its regional services.
"We appreciate that a change of leadership creates uncertainty, however, we are firmly of the view that the decision is in the best interests of the organisation".More news: Tiger's journey from last-chance saloon to Tour victor once more
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And she rejected Communications Minister Mitch Fifield's suggestion that the ABC could easily accommodate the latest 1 per cent efficiency divided required by the government.
If handed the job ... her appointment will raise two key questions: will the ABC now separate the jobs of managing director and editor-in-chief as recommended by Malcolm Turnbull previous year?
"The board has given long and detailed consideration to this serious matter".
Ms Guthrie was announced as the new managing director in December 2015, and she began in the role in May 2016.
ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie has been sacked by the board. I am considering my legal options.
She was also critical of the government's competitive neutrality inquiry into how the ABC and the SBS operate alongside their commercial counterparts. She wasn't asked and didn't speak directly about her time at News Corp, but she did address questions about a partial commercialisation of the ABC, which we and others have speculated could be on the cards given her commercial experience.
4 Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour tweeted it was an "excellent decision" and broadcaster John Faine accused her of an "astonishing fail" in not championing the cause of the ABC more prominently.