Turness replaces Anna Mallett who joined as CEO in 2019 from BBC Studios, and will now join Netflix as VP of physical production for the U.K. and local language production across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific on April 16.
Turness first joined ITN as a freelancer and subsequently 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, making her the U.K.’s first female editor of a network news operation and the youngest ever editor of ITV News. During her tenure, the organization won an Emmy and three BAFTA awards, as well as several Royal Television Society Program of the Year awards.
Turness joined NBC News in 2013, where she led a team of over 3,000 journalists and technicians. She was responsible for all editorial content and commercial revenues for NBC News, including brands Today, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Meet the Press and Dateline.
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.”
Furness’ NBC role also included running long-form production division Peacock Productions and launching NBC News’ strategic content operations.
ITN produces news programs for U.K. broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Over the last decade, ITN has also been a content producer, making TV productions, advertising, sports, and corporate content for ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Netflix, Discovery and CBS.
The company most recently produced ITV News’ hit exclusive news coverage of the Capitol Insurrection.