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Deborah Turness named BBC News CEO

"There has never been a greater need for the BBC’s powerful brand of impartial, trusted journalism," said Turness

Deborah Turness has been appointed CEO of BBC News and Current Affairs, replacing Fran Unsworth who retires at the end of January.

Turness is currently CEO of ITN, having led the organisation’s post-Covid strategy for growth in its three major business areas: newsrooms, long-form production and commercial/branded content.

As CEO of BBC News, Turness will have responsibility for a team of around 6,000, broadcasting to almost half a billion people across the world in more than 40 languages.

Turness became the first woman in US history to be president of a network news division at NBC News in 2013, then the first president of NBC News International in 2017. Prior to NBC, she was the first female editor and youngest ever editor of ITV News.

Image courtesy Peter Searle/ITN

The BBC said her appointment follows a competitive recruitment process, with a start date to be confirmed. She will also be nominated to join the BBC Board.

“In the UK and around the world there has never been a greater need for the BBC’s powerful brand of impartial, trusted journalism,” said Turness. “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.”

“I’m delighted Deborah Turness is joining the BBC as our CEO for BBC News and Current Affairs,” added BBC director general Tim Davie. “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.”