Jon Williams has been appointed to the position of managing director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs, following the recent departure of Kevin Bakhurst.
Williams has been managing editor, International News at ABC News in New York since March 2013, where he shaped the organisation’s international news coverage and strategy. He led ABC’s reporting of the war in Ukraine, the European refugee crisis, and the coverage of the ISIS terrorist attacks in Europe, as well as driving innovation, including the use of 360 and virtual reality video.
“This position attracted a strong national and international interest; clearly, RTÉ’s reputation in news and current affairs is a global one. Jon’s CV is exceptional: a proven and award-winning track record in international affairs is coupled with that key domestic experience, which is so important in the Irish context. Jon’s skill as editor, reporter, innovator and leader are unique; I very much look forward to working closely with him in his new role and as a member of the RTÉ Executive Board,” says Dee Forbes, director general of RTÉ.
A native of Liverpool, Williams also served as BBC’s UK News Editor during the 2005 general election and from 2000-2003 he was deputy editor of the BBC’s Six O’Clock News, the UK’s most-watched news programme. Most recently he was the BBC’s World News Editor, managing a staff of 200 people in 30 different countries. Before leaving the BBC, he oversaw the reporting of the civil war in Syria, which earned him a second Emmy, and was honoured with the 2013 International Prize by the Royal Television Society.
“I could not be more excited to join RTÉ – it’s the privilege of a lifetime to be asked to lead such a talented team of journalists. From Brexit to the many domestic challenges facing the country, there’s never been a more important time for RTÉ, as the national media service, to lead the conversation, across all of our platforms, on radio, television, online, mobile and social. I can’t wait to get started,” says Williams.