ITN plays hardball over Deborah Turness’ notice period, so the BBC appoints interim news boss Jonathan Munro.
While Deborah Turness arrives from ITN, the BBC appoints an experienced executive to lead its news coverage.
ITN refused to allow Deborah Turness, who was appointed last week to take over the role, to be released from her notice period early, forcing the BBC to appoint an interim head of news.
Jonathan Munro, who was interviewed for the position, will take over as interim director of BBC News and Current Affairs “until Deborah Turness joins us later this year,” according to Tim Davie, Director-General.
Ms Turness, the CEO of ITN, is believed to have a 12-month notice period, and her employer is negotiating with the BBC over her contract.
Mr Munro, who will be Ms Turness’s deputy, has joined the BBC’s Executive Committee while the corporation waits for Ms Turness’s potential extension.
Mr Munro may have a say in sensitive decisions such as the appointment of a political editor to replace Laura Kuenssberg, who will move to a new role in the spring, and the appointment of a new permanent presenter for the Sunday morning political show after Andrew Marr announced his departure.
Mr Davie wants an experienced executive to steer the ship during a potentially perilous time for the BBC. Fran Unsworth, the BBC News chief, is leaving on January 27.
Conservative MPs have accused the BBC of “biased” coverage of Boris Johnson’s apology for attending a Downing Street lockdown party, and a new licence fee agreement is being hammered out with ministers.
“Once we have reached agreement with ITN, we will set out the full timetable for Deborah Turness’s start date,” Mr Davie said.
Ms Turness took over as CEO of ITN in April after eight years as president of NBC News, where she was the first woman to lead an American network news division.
Her decision to leave after less than a year in the role disappointed ITN executives.
ITV News recently beat the BBC to several scoops, including the crucial revelation that the Prime Minister and his wife attended the Downing Street party in May 2020.
Mr Munro previously worked with Ms Turness at ITV News, where he filled in for her while she was on maternity leave.
“Jonathan has a lot of money.
News summary from Infosurhoy in the United Kingdom.
BBC appoints interim news boss Jonathan Munro as ITN plays hardball over Deborah Turness notice period