David Thodey's name just got mentioned as Mark Scott's replacement at the ABC

Former Telstra CEO David Thodey. Photo: Getty Images

The Australian’s media commentator had one of the more interesting columns on what he calls the “ABC/Q&A/Zaky Mallah firestorm”, most notably about who’s next in line for the top jobs at the national broadcaster.

While much sound and fury has been expended on the issue over the past week, Day and fellow columnist Errol Simper both view the issue as something of a storm in a teacup, with Simper saying “Australia’s philosophical infrastructure must, surely, be strong enough and mature enough to withstand such a comparatively innocuous debate”.

Day says the issue will soon be forgotten, adding that “perhaps the only winner will be Mallah, the ­attention-seeker exalting in his new-found notoriety”

Day takes a similar view to Simper in asking “since when have offensive opinions been a “heads must roll” offence? Surely we are grown up enough to see them as what they are and utterly reject them if that is our opinion. Opinions, even offensive ones, are only words and everybody’s entitled to their own”.

But his most interesting observations are about who will lead the ABC next. The government will make two board appointments this month, managing director Mark Scott finishes up next year and chairman Jim Spigelman’s term ends in 2017.

“You can bet London to a brick [Spigelman] won’t be offered a second term by the Abbott government,” Day writes.

His prediction is that former Telstra CEO David Thodey will join the board and then take over as chairman.

Day’s job description for new MD is an interesting one too: “a candidate presenting as a change agent, one who can tear down the old ­entrenched castles and silos and rebuild with new technologies and cultures, is sure to make the shortlist”.

His conclusion is fascinating: Sky News boss Angelos Frangopolous – “based on his success in building Sky on the smell of an oily rag to become the politicians’ favourite news channel”.

Read his column here.

Meanwhile, Q&A returns tonight with The Australian’s editor-at-large, Paul Kelly on the panel after government MP Alan Tudge and Menzies Centre executive director Nick Cater pulled out at the last minute in protest against the ABC’s response to the Mallah incident.

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