Two CBC executives who managed Ghomeshi file put on leave of absence

Jian Ghomeshi exits a Toronto courtroom after being released on $100,000 bail
Jian Ghomeshi exits a Toronto courtroom after being released on $100,000 bail. John R. Kennedy / Global News

TORONTO – Two CBC executives involved in the handling of the Jian Ghomeshi affair were placed on a leave of absence Monday.

CBC head of radio Chris Boyce and Todd Spencer, executive director, human resources and industrial relations for English services “will be on a leave of absence effective today until further notice” according to a memo to CBC staff from the corporation’s vice-president of English services.

CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson told Global News the leaves of absence were the “management’s decision,” but stressed “their employment has not been terminated.”

READ MORE: CBC begins removing Jian Ghomeshi’s Q interviews from website

In a memo from CBC’s executive vice-president of English services, Heather Conway, and Roula Zaarour, vice-president, people and culture said the past months have been “difficult” and asked staff to remain supportive in the workplace.

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“As I’m sure you all can appreciate, the past couple of months have been difficult for many people,” the memo reads.

“We cannot ignore the likelihood that this decision will provoke another round of media attention and speculation. I believe it’s especially important that we remain supportive of all our workplace colleagues where they may need it and resolute in our professionalism and dedication to the important work that we do here on behalf of Canadians.”

READ MORE: Accusations and recollections: Sex assault a hot topic in 2014

Boyce is a key figure in the Ghomeshi scandal. In a November report by CBC’s The Fifth Estate he said he led a summer-time internal investigation into Ghomeshi’s conduct that failed to reveal any evidence the radio host had harassed co-workers on the radio show Q.

However, host Gillian Findlay said a survey by The Fifth Estate of Q staffers found no one who was asked by CBC managers about Ghomeshi’s behaviour. Boyce told Findlay he couldn’t go into details about who was interviewed and said he was leaving it to Janice Rubin, an employment lawyer hired by the CBC  who is currently conducting an investigation into the corporation’s handling of the allegations against Ghomeshi.

Ghomeshi is charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance choking. His lawyer, Marie Henein, said he intends to plead not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.