Turness first joined NBC News in 2013, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to be president of a network news division. She moved over to become president of NBC News International in 2017 after the company took a stake in Euronews.
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NBC sold its stake in Euronews last April to focus on the launch of an international television news channel, named NBC Sky World News. Four months later, NBC abandoned plans to launch the channel, citing commercial challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Her switch to ITN represents a homecoming of sorts after she was the editor of ITN-produced ITV News prior to her time at NBC News. She rose through the ranks at ITN having first joined the company on a post-graduate journalism course in France in her early twenties.
Turness will become CEO on April 19, replacing Anna Mallett, who was poached by Netflix in November to become VP of physical production. Mallett steps down on April 26, meaning her tenure at ITN has been almost exactly two years.
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.”
ITN chair Kyla Mullins added: “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.”
ITN is best known in the UK for producing ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5’s news bulletins. Its non-news production arm, ITN Productions, was behind Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning Channel 4/PBS documentary For Sama, while it also made Netflix series Drug Lords.