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Leigh Sales to step down as presenter of ABC’s 7.30

Leigh Sales has announced she is stepping down as presenter of the ABC’s flagship current affairs programme, 7.30, after almost 12 years in the role.

Sales said she would finish at the programme in June, after the Australian federal election, but would stay with the ABC.

“I feel a strong sense of it being time to pass the baton to the next runner in the race and to take a break,” she said on air.

“The end of an election cycle feels like a good time to move onto something new at the ABC.”

Ms Sales was appointed to the role of 7.30 anchor in December 2010, “five prime ministers ago”, she said.

“I hope it’s been obvious that I’ve always approached this job with one goal: that is to ask frank questions of people in power, without fear or favour, that a fair-minded, reasonable person with some common sense watching at home might like to ask if they were sitting in my position.”

ABC Managing Director David Anderson described Ms Sales as an exceptional journalist.

“Leigh’s integrity, intellect and courage are evident in everything she does,” he said.

“Our audiences have always seen Leigh as a journalist and broadcaster who challenges her subjects and asks the questions we all want answers to. I’m really looking forward to the next stage of her career here at the ABC.”