CTV exec goes on leave after Lisa LaFlamme controversy
Michael Melling faced criticism over veteran journalist's abrupt ouster
The head of CTV News has gone on leave following the ouster of news anchor Lisa LaFlamme.
Michael Melling, the vice-president of the news division at CTV's parent company Bell Media, "decided to take leave from his current role effective immediately to spend time with his family," according to an internal memo sent Friday and obtained by CBC News.
"His decision reflects our shared desire to support the newsroom and do what's best to help the team move past the current circumstances to focus on delivering the stories that matter to Canadians."
The memo was signed by Bell Media senior vice-president Karine Moses.
However, in a separate Friday statement, Bell President and CEO Mirko Bibic said Melling is on leave "pending the outcome of [a] workplace review."
Bell Media said last week LaFlamme's firing would be put to an independent review.
The review will address concerns about the "working environment in the newsroom," Bibic said, and will involve confidential interviews with employees that choose to participate.
Melling faced criticism over LaFlamme's abrupt departure from CTV, which raised allegations of sexism and ageism. He took over as head of news in January.
LaFlamme revealed last week that she'd been "blindsided" by Bell Media's decision to end her contract.
"At 58, I still thought I had a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives," she said in an online video.
LaFlamme had worked for the network for 35 years. As chief news anchor of the flagship newscast, CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme, she won "best national news anchor" at the Canadian Screen Awards five times, including this year.
Media reports have suggested a connection between LaFlamme's ouster and her grey hair, which she stopped dyeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing some praise.
After LaFlamme's original announcement, Bell Media said her removal was a business decision made to recognize "changing viewer habits."
The company later said that it regretted "the way in which the news of her departure has been communicated."
With files from Idil Mussa, Jackson Weaver and The Canadian Press