The BBC has announced that Deborah Turness has been appointed as CEO, BBC News and Current Affairs. Deborah will join the BBC from ITN, where she is CEO.
Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, says: “I’m delighted Deborah Turness is joining the BBC as our CEO for BBC News and Current Affairs. Deborah brings a wealth of experience, insight, first-class editorial judgement, and a strong track record of delivery. She is a passionate advocate for the power of impartial journalism and a great believer in the BBC and the role we play, in the UK and globally. She will do a brilliant job of leading our news and current affairs as we deliver on the BBC’s public service mission in the digital age.”
Deborah Turness says: “In the UK and around the world there has never been a greater need for the BBC’s powerful brand of impartial, trusted journalism. It is a great privilege to be asked to lead and grow BBC News at a time of accelerated digital growth and innovation, when its content is reaching more global consumers on more platforms than ever before.”
As CEO of BBC News, Deborah will have responsibility for a team of around 6,000 people, broadcasting to almost half a billion people across the world in more than 40 languages. The BBC is consistently rated the world’s most trusted international news provider, and record numbers of people have turned to BBC News during the coronavirus pandemic. The latest figures show that eight out of ten UK adults use BBC News every week.
Her title of CEO reflects the BBC’s ambition to continue to build the BBC’s global news brand and continue to grow its news services, which are now reaching a record 456 million people worldwide. Deborah will also be nominated to join the BBC Board.
Her appointment follows a competitive recruitment process. She replaces Fran Unsworth, who is retiring and leaves the BBC at the end of January.
Notes to editors
· Deborah Turness will be paid a salary of £400k. Her start date will be confirmed in due course.
· Deborah is currently CEO of ITN, where she has led the organisation’s post-Covid strategy for growth in its three major business areas - newsrooms, long-form production and commercial/branded content.
· Before this, Deborah became the first president of NBC News International, the global arm of American news network NBC News, in 2017, where she was responsible for overseeing its operations including editorial, production and commercial.
· She joined NBC News in 2013, becoming the first woman in US history to be President of a network news division, where she led a team of over 3000 journalists and technicians. She was responsible for all editorial content and commercial revenues for NBC News, including major brands TODAY, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Meet the Press and Dateline. During Deborah’s tenure the 3 news programmes regained their position as top ratings performers in the competitive US news market.
· Prior to joining NBC News, Deborah was editor of ITV News where she was their first female editor and the youngest ever editor of ITV News. During her tenure, the organisation won an Emmy and three consecutive BAFTA awards, as well as several RTS Programme of the Year awards. She also completed a mini-MBA course at Ashridge Business School while in the role.
· Deborah first joined ITN as a freelancer while on a post-graduate journalism course in France in her early twenties. Over the following years, she worked across the foreign, home and planning desks before joining the North of England bureau. Deborah was ITN’s Washington Bureau producer during the Clinton White House years and spent time in Bosnia during the Balkans War. In 1997, she played a key role in launching 5 News before moving to Channel 4 as editor of its breakfast programme, RI:SE.
· She was appointed as ITV News deputy editor in 2002 and then made editor in 2004.