Appointment of woman as RTE boss a 'progressive move'

Dee Forbes

Wayne O'Connor

The appointment of a woman to the most senior role in RTE has been hailed as a "progressive move".

Dee Forbes, who is originally from Cork, was announced as RTE's next director general by its board yesterday.

Ms Forbes, who is currently based in London, will leave her role as managing director of Discovery Channel Europe in the coming weeks.

Her appointment is expected to be ratified by the Government next week.

It will be Ms Forbes' first job in Ireland since she left in the 1980s.

"Although it was a tough professional decision to leave Discovery, the personal decision to return to Ireland and lead its biggest broadcaster, RTE, is an opportunity of a lifetime," she said.

Ms Forbes is not expected to take up the new role for some weeks until current director general Noel Curran sees out the remainder of his five-year term.

She began her broadcasting career with Turner Broadcasting, where she spent 14 years in a range of roles, including head of advertising sales for Europe and general manager in the UK and Ireland, running seven channels.

In 2010 she joined Discovery Networks. She is currently president and managing director of the Western Europe division, covering 27 TV brands in 18 markets. Chair of RTE's board, Moya Doherty, said she was delighted to announce the appointment.


"Not only is this the first director general in almost 50 years to be appointed externally, but she will also be the first female to hold the role. RTE is at a pivotal moment, one where the future shape and financing of public service broadcasting is being re-imagined.

The appointment will come as a surprise to many at RTE as the role of director general has traditionally been filled by somebody with a history at the organisation.

Deputy director general Kevin Bakhurst was expected by many to succeed Mr Curran - with head of television at RTE, Glen Killane, also being tipped.

Joan O'Connor, chairperson of Women in Media, said she was "thrilled" with the appointment describing it as a "progressive" move.