NBC News president Deborah Turness has been named the first president of NBC News International as NBC takes an ownership stake in Euronews, which will be renamed Euronews NBC, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack announced this morning. Noah Oppenhiem, the executive in charge of Today, has been upped to NBC News president.
Oppenheim will continue to oversee Today, which last year returned to the top spot in the ratings in the news demo, though the flagship franchise has been more in the news of late for the comings and goings of Billy Bush, Megyn Kelly and Tamron Hall.
In his memo to staff, Lack noted that Euronews was founded more than two decades back to cover world news from a European perspective. Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is its controlling shareholder, with a more than 50% stake. NBC, which had been in talks about a strategic partnership on the operation since November, has taken a 25% stake.
Here is Lack’s memo to staff:
For as long as I can remember, at NBC News we’ve wanted to establish a global reach for our news organization that matches our impact and reputation in the United States. We now have a fantastic opportunity to do just that, and to begin to write an exciting new chapter in the remarkable history of NBC News.
We plan to marry the power of the NBC News brand and the talent of our people with a formidable news asset in Europe in order to create an international offering that will strengthen our news organization and change the landscape of international news. This new venture will be called Euronews NBC.
In short: We believe we’ve found a unique international partner at a pivotal time in global news.
Nearly 25 years ago, Euronews was founded to cover world news from a European perspective. Today no other news organization in Europe brings together the diversity of views, across the continent, day in and day out.
By joining forces with Euronews and their nearly 500 journalists, our audience on the broadcast network, on MSNBC and our digital platforms will benefit from a greatly expanded news gathering capability. And we will reach 277 million new households in thirteen languages across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Upon closing this deal, NBC News Group will provide editorial resources, strategic guidance – and will have an ownership stake – to help build on the success Euronews has seen to date. We will invest in European journalism, strengthening the depth and pace of its reporting – which is rooted in each of the 164 countries where Euronews currently broadcasts. On digital we will co-brand and collaborate to enhance their existing digital products and editorial coverage – and ours.
Needless to say, this is going to be an enormous challenge and it will take a great deal of work. It will require an outstanding business and editorial leader who, among other attributes, is proven in both the U.S. and Europe.
I’m pleased and proud to say that Deborah Turness will be named the first president of NBC News International, reporting to me. Deborah is perfectly positioned to make sure we seize this opportunity – one that is unprecedented for any U.S. broadcast entity.
Deborah has been integral to this process – she’s been my partner for several months in assessing the opportunity and aligning our vision with Euronews.
Deborah joined NBC News three and a half years ago. In no small measure due to her leadership, all four of our broadcasts finished 2016 as number one in both of the key demos – for the first time since 2011.
She’s driven the news division on big scoops and exclusives and considerably upped our game on covering international news. Her commitment to “journalism with a capital J” can be seen in the many prestigious awards NBC News has won in the last few years. She also led a massive overhaul of our systems and processes, just one of the many ways she has made us all better and brighter.
At moments like this – when a leadership position opens up – one of the signs of a healthy and thriving newsroom is the ability to find a worthy successor within your own walls. That’s one of the many reasons I’m delighted to tell you that Noah Oppenheim will become President of NBC News, reporting to me.
I know you share my enthusiasm in congratulating Noah. He began his career here with Hardball and then TODAY. Since returning home to NBC News two years ago for his second tour of duty, Noah has done a fantastic job leading the TODAY franchise. He has honed the broadcast, and audiences have rewarded us for it. TODAY is back in first place and more powerful than ever.
For those of you in the TODAY family – rest assured – Noah will continue to lead TODAY, and will of course take on oversight of all NBC News operations, including Nightly News, Meet the Press, Dateline and our award-winning investigative-unit. He will partner with Phil Griffin and MSNBC, as Deborah has done so successfully, to continue the momentum we’ve built in combining the strength of our two networks for the betterment of both. And Noah will work closely with Nick Ascheim as we chart our digital future.
I couldn’t be happier with our team, our recent successes, and the opportunities ahead. Please join me in congratulating Deborah and Noah, and wishing them both all the best in their new roles.
Warmly and gratefully,