Deborah Turness appointed as ITN CEO

March 8th 2021

Deborah Turness will be joining ITN as its Chief Executive Officer from NBC News International where she is president.

Deborah became the first president of NBC News International, the global arm of American news network NBC News, in 2017 and is responsible for overseeing its operations including editorial, production and commercial.

She joined NBC News in 2013, becoming the first woman in US history to be President of a network news division, where she led a team of over 3000 journalists and technicians. She was responsible for all editorial content and commercial revenues for NBC News, including major brands TODAY, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Meet the Press and Dateline. During Deborah’s tenure the four programmes regained their position as top ratings performers in the competitive US news market.

Prior to joining NBC News, Deborah was editor of ITV News where she was the UK’s first female editor of a network news operation and the youngest ever editor of ITV News. During her tenure, the organisation won an Emmy and three consecutive BAFTA awards, as well as several RTS Programme of the Year awards. She also completed a mini-MBA course at Ashridge Business School while in the role.

Deborah first joined ITN as a freelancer while on a post-graduate journalism course in France in her early twenties. Over the following years, she worked across the foreign, home and planning desks before joining the North of England bureau. Deborah 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 programme, RI:SE.

She was appointed as ITV News deputy editor in 2002 and then made editor in 2004.

Deborah replaces Anna Mallett who joined as CEO in 2019 from BBC Studios, and is now set to join Netflix as VP Physical Production for the UK and local language production across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific. During her tenure, Anna has overseen the development of a new strategy and culture and led ITN through the global coronavirus pandemic, during which it has increased audiences for all of its news programmes, grown its TV production business and won two Royal Television Society awards, including Daily News Programme of the Year for ITV News at Ten.

Deborah Turness said: “ITN was my home for most of my career, so I feel privileged and proud to be returning as CEO. ITN’s role in public life has never been more critical, with the pandemic demonstrating why its reputation for quality, trusted news content is second to none. I’m excited to capture the growth in streaming platforms who are hungry for ITN’s high-quality factual content, as well as creative expertise across sports, virtual events and advertising. At a moment of so much change, challenge and opportunity, I look forward to leading a brand I believe in, and a talented team of people, whose values are so dear to my heart.”

Kyla Mullins, Chair of the ITN Board, said: “Deborah has impeccable credentials as a strategic leader, with journalistic nous and a keen business mind. She will bring huge passion, energy and knowledge to the company and I know she is very excited to be returning and cannot wait to get started. With her deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for ITN I’m confident she will be a huge success in this role.”

Deborah’s NBC role also included running the award-winning long-form production division Peacock Productions and launching NBC News’ Strategic Content Operations, which focused on diversifying revenues through partnerships with commercial clients and ensuring editorial success was matched by financial growth.

During the pandemic, Deborah led a team to radically innovate content and create products for all platforms, as well as reimagining the way news is made.

She joins ITN as it has also adjusted to working through the pandemic delivering record ratings during unprecedented demand for news, while continuing to deliver TV programming to broadcasters and SVODs.

Over the last decade ITN has transformed itself from a high-quality broadcast news provider into a multi-faceted production company making TV productions, advertising, sports, and corporate content. ITN’s clients include ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Netflix, Discovery and CBS.

Deborah’s start date is April 19. Anna Mallett will leave ITN to join Netflix on April 16.

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