Garth Ancier to exit BBC post

Former topper will become a non-executive director

Garth Ancier will exit his post as president of BBC Worldwide America in March.

Ancier, the onetime entertainment president at Fox, the WB (where he was later CEO) and NBC, announced his plans Thursday. He’ll move into a position as a nonexecutive director of the company.

“We have achieved a great deal over the past three years, but now feels the right time to transition to a new role where I can really help BBC Worldwide shape its strategy,” Ancier said.

Ancier joined BBC Worldwide America three years ago. Under his watch, BBC America’s distribution grew to 65 million households and cultivated hits such as “Torchwood,” “Top Gear” and “Primeval.” Revenues grew by 39% after ad sales moved inhouse.

Under Ancier, the company also expanded its production oversight in the U.S. (where its series include “Dancing With the Stars”) and looked to bolster BBC’s news presence here.

Among his initiatives were net’s signature nightly newscast “BBC World News America,” anchored by Matt Frei. Ancier struck a deal with L.A. pubcaster KCET to distribute BBC World News across the country. Efforts to get cable and satellite distribution for the BBC’s global news channel, however, fell short.

“Garth has simply transformed our business in the U.S. and we are tremendously grateful for all he has achieved,” said John Smith, CEO of BBC Worldwide. “His impeccable experience, wise counsel and astute business sense, combined with genuine enthusiasm for the BBC brand, have taken us to a new level.”

A replacement has not been named, but the BBC is searching for another president. On the docket for whoever assumes the reins: the U.S. launch next year of the BBC’s preschool channel CBeebies.

Ancier was unavailable for comment Thursday. The L.A.-based exec had spent much of his time in New York and London during his tenure at BBC; it’s unclear whether he plans to return to the West Coast fulltime.

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