BBC Studios announce leadership appointments in N America
The BBC, as part of its commitment to expanding its world-leading digital news offering in North America, has appointed two new leaders to senior roles based in the United States. Jen Brown joins as SVP of Programming and Content Strategy, Global Digital News & Streaming. She will be responsible for defining the wider content strategy for the BBC’s news and factual digital platforms outside of the UK. Brown will be based in New York, reporting directly to Jennie Baird, EVP & Managing Director, Global Digital News and Streaming. Saeed Ahmed joins as Head of Digital Journalism, U.S. for BBC News, overseeing the company’s digital news content aimed at U.S. audiences. Ahmed will be based in Washington DC and report to Stuart Millar, Digital Executive News Editor.
The two newly created roles will work with teams across the organization to enhance the BBC’s presence in the United States as the company doubles down to meet the increasing demand for its news content in the region.
Naja Nielsen, Digital Director for BBC News, said, “The U.S. is a highly innovative and exciting market for digital journalism in text, video and audio. Our multimedia offer is already now used by 50 million consumers weekly, and we know we are more trusted than any other news brand in the US. In a highly polarized time we believe we have a very compelling and strong offer and that many more Americans would love to know and consume our journalism, known for being impartial, accurate and transparent, always in the pursuit of truth, reporting without fear or favour. I know Jen Brown and Saeed Ahmed are just the team to spearhead and deliver the growth of BBC News in the U.S.”
Brown is a 16-year veteran of NBCUniversal, where she most recently helped launch its streaming service, Peacock. As Senior Vice President of Program Planning and Content Partnerships, Brown led planning across originals, acquisitions, topical content and FAST channels. She won an Emmy for Peacock’s coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Previously, Brown served as SVP, Strategic Initiatives, at NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, a team tasked with accelerating digital growth across the company and overseeing NBCU’s digital investments. Brown spent over 10 years at NBC News, where she developed programming that reached new audiences and expanded commercial opportunities.
“Jen’s impressive career, including tenures at NBCUniversal and Peacock, has made her adept at bridging the gap between the editorial and business side of digital news,” said Baird. “Her passion lies in building effective cross-functional teams and leading them to successfully reach consumers on new platforms and drive revenue, making her a critical addition to our growing team as BBC Studios continues to expand our worldwide digital news footprint outside of the UK.”
Ahmed joins the BBC from NPR, where he most recently served as Director of Digital News, overseeing the organization’s digital presence across its website, social, streaming platforms, newsletters and smart speakers. Prior to that, he was the Assistant Managing Editor at CNN Digital. His work has won numerous awards including an Emmy, Webbys and a Peabody.
Ahmed was born in Bangladesh, raised in the Middle East and attended Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Nielsen added, “Having built his career in tangent with the evolution and proliferation of digital news, Saeed has consistently pioneered new ways of engaging audiences and bringing stories to life across a range of digital platforms. His aptitude for understanding what people want and developing compelling formats to address their needs makes him the ideal person to drive forward our digital journalism strategy in the U.S.”
Earlier this year, BBC News announced plans to double its digital journalism team in North America to further enhance the BBC’s ability to cover major breaking stories and provide more in-depth analysis from the region.
BBC News, which reaches 50 million consumers weekly in the U.S., is regarded as the most trusted global news brand in the country, ahead of all major US news brands, according to the 2022 Reuters Institute Digital News Report. The ranking is a testament to BBC News’ commitment to its mission of helping people understand the world around them, make informed choices and take an active part in society and democracy.