DUBAI: The BBC has announced that Deborah Turness is joining the media company in the newly created title of CEO of BBC News and Current Affairs. She will also be nominated to join the BBC Board.
The new title of CEO reflects the BBC’s ambition to continue to build the global news brand and grow its news services, the company said in a statement.
Turness will take over from Fran Unsworth, the director of BBC News and Current Affairs, who will be retiring and leaving at the end of January.
Turness currently heads Independent News Network as CEO. Her start date at the BBC is yet to be confirmed.
“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,” said Tim Davie, BBC director-general.
In her new role, Turness will be responsible for a team of around 6,000 people, broadcasting to almost half a billion people across the world in more than 40 languages.
Turness said: “In the UK and around the world there has never been a greater need for the BBC’s powerful brand of impartial, trusted journalism.”
Turness has been in the media and broadcasting industry for nearly two decades. She was appointed as ITV News deputy editor in 2002 and then made editor in 2004.
She first joined ITN as a freelancer while on a postgraduate journalism course in France in her early twenties. Over the next few years, she worked across the foreign, home and planning desks before joining the North of England bureau. She 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 program, “RI:SE.”
She was also the editor of ITV News where she was their first female editor and the youngest ever editor of the network. During her tenure, the organization won several awards including an Emmy and three consecutive BAFTA awards.
Turness joined NBC News in 2013, becoming the first woman in US history to be president of a network news division. She then became the president of NBC News International in 2017.
She returned to ITN in April 2021 as CEO, taking over from Anna Mallett, who left to join Netflix.
“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,” added Turness.