Thursday 6 January 2022

BBC News gets a CEO

It's out with the old, in with the new at the BBC. 

Out goes Fran Unsworth as Director of BBC News, in comes Deborah Turness as CEO of BBC News - an upgraded job title with an upgraded salary, rising from £340,000 a year to £400,000 a year.

I see the Defund the BBC campaign has already given Ms Turness a warm welcome tweeting,  “The BBC have replaced Fran Unsworth with a new £400,000-a-year fat cat who’s getting an extra £60,000 on top of the role’s already monstrous salary. Stop funding big executive pay rises. Defund the BBC.”

Like Fran Unsworth, Ms Turness has worked in the broadcast media throughout her working life but unlike Fran, who's been a 'BBC lifer', Deborah has worked for several top broadcasters, rising to be President of NBC News and CEO of ITN.

Vanity Fair in 2015 described her as “a feisty, hard-charging, tabloid-loving British media figure” and claims the news programmes she supervised in an earlier period as editor at ITN “consistently humbled rivals at the BBC.” 

And if you enjoyed that bit of American purple prose, the same piece then calls her “a hip, sinewy blonde” who was “once been married to a roadie for the Clash and had competed in a Beijing-to-Paris road race” - which sounds someone different to Fran Unsworth, to whom the term “rock-chick swagger” has never been applied. As far as I know.

Another bit reminds me of Tim Davie though: “Turness’s presentations were a model of 21st-century media and corporate jargon and synergies.” Sounds fun.

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