CBC has suspended the two senior executives who managed the Jian Ghomeshi file months before it exploded into view last fall, including one of the disgraced radio host's primary champions.
In a memo to employees Monday afternoon, the public broadcaster announced that Chris Boyce, the executive director of CBC Radio, and Todd Spencer, its executive director of human resources and industrial relations, had been placed on leaves of absence.
Mr. Boyce, who was instrumental in making Mr. Ghomeshi a star, is the highest-ranking CBC executive to be hit by the scandal.
His tenure at CBC has been in question since the network's investigative program the fifth estate aired a damning report in late November that appeared to show he and Mr. Spencer fumbled the Ghomeshi matter when it was brought to them last summer.
Mr. Boyce said in the report that, after he caught wind of allegations that Mr. Ghomeshi may have harassed co-workers, Mr. Spencer and Linda Groen, another radio manager, interviewed "a cross-section of people who had worked at Q," but turned up nothing of significance. The fifth estate report, though, charged that 16 staffers who worked at Q last summer had not been contacted at all.
After the report aired, Ms. Groen denied that she had been involved in any investigation.
Pressed by reporter Gillian Findlay on the breadth of his investigation, Mr. Boyce said that was the subject of the current third-party probe being conducted by workplace lawyer Janice Rubin.
He added that it was not his place to conduct a police investigation on an employee, and that, in any case, hindsight was 20-20. "I believe that when we were in the middle of it, knowing what we knew, that we acted properly."
Ms. Rubin's probe, which began in November after multiple women, including at least one Q employee, alleged Mr. Ghomeshi had either assaulted or harassed them, is not expected to wrap up for another month.
Mr. Spencer, a former news executive, became the broadcaster's top human-resources executive for its English-language services less than two years ago, after spending two decades in news and network production.
Monday's memo, written by CBC's executive vice-president of English services Heather Conway and Roula Zaarour, the vice-president of people and culture at CBC/Radio-Canada, asks employees to take the suspensions in stride.
"As I'm sure you can also appreciate, we will not be making any further public comment about Todd or Chris or their leaves of absence at this time," it 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. We recognize this is a difficult way to start off the year, but despite our current challenges, together we will get through this, and we do have a great future."
Citing the broadcaster's personnel policy, a CBC spokesperson refused to say whether the executives are being paid during their leaves.