Dee Forbes set to be new RTÉ head

Dee Forbes poses in a TV studio

Dee Forbes, the head of Discovery Europe and former Director cover star to take over top role at Irish national broadcaster

Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has appointed Dee Forbes, currently Northern European president and managing director of Discovery Communications, as its new director general.

Described as “the most important position in Irish media” by The Irish Times, Forbes will replace current director general Noel Curran, who leaves his position at the end of this month.

Forbes, who will take up her position later this year after “a transition period”, said, “Although it was a tough professional decision to leave Discovery, the personal decision to return to Ireland and lead its biggest broadcaster, RTÉ, is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Forbes has been at Discovery Communications since 2010, and manages all commercial and channel activities for Discovery Network’s Northern Europe’s business, covering 27 brands in 18 countries. Prior to joining Discovery Communications, Forbes worked at Turner Broadcasting for 14 years, which incorporated channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang and TCM. She is also a former non-executive director of the board of The Irish Times.

Hailing from Drimoleague in West Cork, the role is Forbes’s first job in her home country since working in her family pub during the 1980s. After graduating from University College, Dublin with a degree in history and politics, she moved to London in 1989 to take up a position at advertising agency Young and Rubicam.

The director-general role at RTÉ has traditionally gone to internal candidates, with Forbes being the first external appointee since 1963.

“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,” said Moya Doherty, chairwoman of the RTÉ board. “RTÉ is at a pivotal moment, one where the future shape and financing of public service broadcasting is being re-imagined. I am delighted to have someone with such a breadth of industry experience, such a creative and visionary understanding of the global broadcasting market, and a proven management record.”

More on Dee Forbes:

To read Dee Forbes discussing her career so far, check out Director’s cover interview from September 2011 here


About author

Christian Koch

Christian Koch

Alongside his work for Director, Christian has written features for the Evening Standard, The Guardian, Sunday Times Style, The Independent, Q, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, ShortList and Glamour in an eclectic career which has seen him interview everybody from Mariah Carey to Michael Douglas through to Richard Branson with newspaper assignments including reporting on the Japanese tsunami and living with an Italian cult.

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