Deborah Turness: ITN boss go be new CEO of BBC News and Current Affairs

Deborah Turness

Deborah Turness na di first woman to run one US network news division

Deborah Turness don get appointment as di BBC new CEO of news and current affairs, as she replace Fran Unsworth.

Turness get distinguished journalistic career – she na di first ever woman to be president of network news division for di US.

She na once president of NBC News from 2013 until 2017, and later President of NBC News International.

Turness before-before work as editor of ITV News, and since April 2021 she be CEO of ITN.

For statement, Turness say “dis na di greatest time wey BBC need powerful brand of impartial, trusted journalism”.

“Na great privilege for me to lead and grow BBC News at a time of increasing digital growth and innovation, wen di content dey reach more global consumers on more platforms dan ever before,” she tok.

Di BBC say dem bin rename di position from director to CEO to reflect dia “ambition to continue to build di BBC global news brand and continue to grow di news services”.

Analysis box by Amol Rajan, media editor


So di BBC go outside, as e be, for di new director of news.

Deborah Turness na editorial heavyweight wit better international reputation, a solid record on impartiality and – like director-general Tim Davie – a strong commercial pedigree.

But she dey take over ogbonge (though very well paid) new position wey hard well-well for pesin wey occupy am.

Though no be pesin wey popular like dat, di director of BBC News na arguably di most important job for British journalism – certainly for broadcast – because e dey reach so many pipo.

Perhaps wit approval for her ommercial background, and time wen she work for American network NBC, di of di position for BBC don change from director to CEO.

For dis position, she go come under serious political pressure; go dey responsible for thousands of journalists’ decisions every day; go need to find considerable further savings and uphold impartiality at a time wen critics find how to betray am everywhere; go accelerate a digital transition; break massive global tori; and constantly respond to crises wey she no plan for.

Tim Davie, di BBC director-general, say im dey “happy well-well” say Turness dey take di position.

“Deborah bring wealth of experience, insight, first-class editorial judgement, and strong track record of delivery,” e tok for statement.

“She be passionate advocate for di power of impartial journalism and a great believer in BBC and di role we play, for UK and di world. She go better work of leading our news and current affairs as we deliver on di BBC public service mission for dis digital age.”

Sian Williams, presenter of 5 News, tweet say: “Deborah Turness dey awesome. We bin don love her well-well for ITN – wen we dey relaunch 5 News she bin dey di gallery, dey happy for us and di ideas. Una dey very lucky to have her, BBC News.”

Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman add say: “E dey very sad to see Deborah Turness go. She do a great job for BBC News. Na woman wey dey get results.

Na Clive Myrie interview Turness about her career and di current affairs landscape on BBC Radio 4’s The Media Show last August.

Between 2004 and 2013, Turness na editor of ITV News – di first woman to hold dat role.

We go pay her £400,000 as salary, dis na increase on Unsworth own by around £60,000, and we go announce her start date in due course, di BBC tok.

Fran Unsworth

Unsworth don work for some senior positions during her 40-year BBC career

She go replace Fran Unsworth, wey announce for September say she dey leave di BBC.

Unsworth, wey go step down dis month, say “na great privilege” to work for di BBC.

“I don get place wey I don sidon well-well for some momentous events, including di Falklands War, di Troubles for Northern Ireland, war for di Middle East, di death of Princess Diana, 9/11 and countless general elections,” she tok for statement.

“Di jobs I don do no dey always dey easy. Undoubtedly, some sweat pass odas. But I dey proud to fit don do all of dem – and to work for dis kain company wey get such important and precious role for di UK and around di world.”

Kyla Mullins, Chairman of di ITN Board for statement say: “We thank Deborah for her leadership and wish her all di very best for her new position.

“Deborah go remain as chief executive for some time to come as we begin di process of recruiting her successor.”