She won acclaim as a successful editor of ITV News until 2013 – the first woman in that role
Turness, 54, joined NBC News in 2013, becoming the first female president of a American network news division, and later served as president of the network’s global arm.
Between 2004 and 2013 she was editor of ITV News – the first woman to hold the role.
She will be paid a salary of £400,000, an increase on Unsworth’s by around £60,000, and her start date will be confirmed in due course, the BBC said.
There had been speculation that Unsworth’s deputies Jonathan Munro, deputy director of BBC News and Jamie Angus, senior controller of BBC News output and commissioning, were frontrunners for the role.
However, the position has gone to an external candidate.
Turness said: “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.”
The BBC said it had renamed the position from director to chief executive to reflect its “ambition to continue to build the BBC’s global news brand and continue to grow its news services”.
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in