ITN boss appointed new BBC head of news and current affairs

Deborah Turness, CEO of ITN, is the surprising appointment as the new BBC head of News and Current Affairs.

Ms Turness will replace Fran Unsworth, who is stepping down this month after four years in the very politically sensitive role.

The first president of NBC News International, before returning to ITV, Mrs Turness was highly respected by the BBC’s Director General Tim Davie.

She rejected an initial approach from Davie, but was successfully courted for the offer of a new global CEO role at the BBC. She will be paid £ 400,000 a year.

Mrs Turness said: “In Britain 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 in an age of accelerated digital growth and innovation, with content reaching more global consumers across more platforms than ever before.”

Davie said: “I am delighted that Deborah Turness is joining the BBC as our CEO of BBC News and Current Affairs. Deborah brings a wealth of experience, insight, first-class editorial judgment and a strong track record for delivery.”

“She is a passionate advocate of the power of impartial journalism and a great supporter of 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 while delivering on the BBC’s public service mission in the digital age. “

She landed Jonathan Munro, in charge of the BBC’s news collection and live output, for the role.

Mrs Turness’s inbox includes electing a new political editor to replace Laura Kuenssberg, who is stepping down this spring. She will also oversee the replacement for Andrew Marr as presenter on the flagship Sunday morning policy program.

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