The board of Screen Australia has decided to advertise the position of chief executive rather than extend the tenure of the incumbent, Ruth Harley (pictured), who has led the agency since it was formed from the merger of the Film Finance Corp., the Australian Film Commission and Film Australia more than four years ago.
Harley's term expires in November and she has told staff she will re-apply. There has been no statement from the board but its general view is that the position should go through a competitive process. The staff were informed on Monday.
While the term for the next CEO has not yet been set – it may be for three or four years – the board felt that the appointment should be open to external candidates and that having the same person lead such a large and influential organisation for multiple terms without going through due process would be a mistake.
One source insists there is no palpable dissatisfaction among board members with Harley's performance, despite industry rumblings of discontent when Screen Australia announced in December that its drama production investment budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year has been fully committed.
That announcement was handled “regrettably,” one insider acknowledged. The position will be advertised on Friday.