CTV News chief takes leave after backlash over LaFlamme firing

The executive who bore the brunt of the public’s anger over the controversial firing of longtime CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme is taking leave ‘effective immediately’, a memo to staff revealed on Friday evening .

CityNews obtained a copy of the email sent to staff, informing them that Michael Melling, Bell Media’s vice president of news, is stepping down from his role « to spend time with his family. »

“His decision reflects our shared desire to support the newsroom and do what is best to help the team overcome the current circumstances to focus on delivering the stories that matter to Canadians,” the memo reads.

The memo says Richard Gray, who is currently regional general manager for the Eastern Region, will step in to take on Melling’s role.

Last Monday, LaFlamme said she was taken aback and shocked after learning that Bell Media had decided to terminate her contract after 35 years.

Bell Media called it a « business decision. »

A few days later, The Globe and Mail reported that Melling raised questions about LaFlamme, 58,’s hair, asking who approved of the decision to « let Lisa’s hair turn gray. »

The Globe report also suggested that Melling was the one who told LaFlamme she was being pulled from her role.

CTV has announced that Omar Sachedina will be the new anchor and editor of CTV National News, effective September 5.

Sachedina, 39, of Vancouver, British Columbia, is currently a national affairs correspondent for CTV News. He first joined CTV National News as a correspondent in Toronto in 2009.

LaFlamme’s ousting resonated with audiences, spawning allegations of ageism and sexism, with many noting that former male presenters of much older ages had elaborate and respectful send-offs.

Last Friday, Bell Media announced that it would launch a third-party workplace review into the handling of the situation.

In a statement, CTV’s parent company said it regretted the news of LaFlamme’s departure « may have left viewers with the wrong impression of how CTV views Lisa and her remarkable career. »

With files from Michael Ranger and The Canadian Press


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