Former ITN boss Deborah Turness has been named the new chief exec of news and current affairs for the BBC.
Turness will replace Fran Unsworth, who ends her 40-year career at the broadcaster this month, having started her career in 1980 with BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat.
In her statement, Unsworth said: “I have had a ringside seat at some momentous events, including the Falklands War, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, wars in the Middle East, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11 and countless general elections,” she said in a statement.
“The jobs I’ve done have not always been easy. Undoubtedly, some were more fun than others. But I am proud to have done all of them – and to work for an organisation which has such a vital and precious role in the UK and around the world.”
Meanwhile, her replacement appears to be a force to be reckoned with. Turness was the first ever woman to be president of a network news division in the US, and has previously worked as editor of ITV News, and since April 2021 she has been the chief exec of ITN.
She said on her new appointment: “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.”
BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “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 judgment, 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.”
Turness allegedly beat internal candidate Jonathan Munro, responsible for the BBC’s newsgathering operations and live output, to the role.
She inherits a BBC newsroom that is halfway through a two-year restructuring process and has an enormous reach across the UK and abroad.