LONDON — Discovery exec Julian Bellamy has been tapped to lead the U.K. unit of ITV Studios, the production arm of British commercial broadcaster ITV. ITV Studios U.K. is Britain’s largest commercial production company.

Bellamy, creative director and head of commissioning at Discovery Networks Intl., takes up his role as managing director of ITV Studios U.K. later this year. He replaces Denise O’Donoghue, who recently announced her intention to step down at the end of this year. Following her departure, she will continue to sit on the ITVS board.

In his three years at Discovery, Bellamy ran production and development across 200 countries, with commissioning teams in five main international bases.

As head of U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 from May 2007 to October 2010, Bellamy managed more than 2,000 hours of original programming a year, including “Undercover Boss,” “Big Fat Gypsy Wedding,” “One Born Every Minute” and “This Is England.”

From 2006, he was BBC3’s channel controller with responsibility for the channel’s scheduling and commissioning, increasing the audience share of the channel’s core audience of 16-24 year olds by 40%.

As head of Channel 4’s E4 from 2005, Bellamy took the channel to a 24 hours operation, increasing the core audience by 30%. Prior to that he was Channel 4’s head of factual entertainment having been commissioning editor, Channel 4 news and current affairs.

ITV Studios chief Kevin Lygo said: “Julian is an exceptional talent who combines outstanding creativity with excellent strategic leadership. He brings with him a wealth of experience and a fantastic track record of success in programming, production and business management.”

Bellamy said: “I have had a brilliant time at Discovery, but to run one of the U.K.’s most successful production operations is too rare an opportunity to pass up.”

ITV Studios increased revenues by 12% in the U.K. last year, with significant increases in drama, entertainment and factual commissions. These included the dramas “Lucan” and “The Widower,” returning drama series “Vera” and “Mr Selfridge,” entertainment series “Big Star’s Little Star” and “Saturday Night Takeaway,” as well as factual entertainment series “The Big Reunion” and “Paul O’Grady’s For The Love of Dogs.”

The business also includes a raft of production companies, 12 Yard, So TV, Big Talk and The Garden, which produce programs for all the U.K.’s major broadcasters.