Davie to head BBC Worldwide

Pubcaster insider replaces John Smith

LONDON — BBC Worldwide has tapped its new head, Tim Davie, the Beeb’s director of audio and music, whose appointment had been expected ever since it emerged this summer that CEO John Smith was about to exit after 23 years at the pubcaster.

Davie is a former Pepsi marketing chief who was an outsider to succeed Mark Thompson as the BBC’s director general.

That job went to George Entwistle who said, “Tim has a fantastic vision for the opportunities that lie ahead for BBC Worldwide. Tim will now take the BBC’s commercial arm into the next chapter of its development. I am delighted he will be joining the team at this crucial time.”

It is understood that Smith, who has more than doubled Worldwide’s revenues and quadrupled profits, did not see eye-to-eye with BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten’s view of the commercial division’s future.

In a statement Smith said: “It has been a huge privilege to lead this powerful business, owned by the BBC, which does so much to supplement the license fee income and takes the BBC brand to audiences around the world.

“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved over the last eight years but I am excited to be moving on to new opportunities in the commercial world as our revenue and profits reach record highs.”

Under Davie’s leadership Worldwide is expected to concentrate more on selling content and strengthening its global channels business, rather than investing in shingles and moving into new areas such as the controversial acquisition of the Lonely Planet business.