Herb Scannell is stepping down as president of BBC Worldwide North America after a five-year tenure at the Beeb’s U.S. production and distribution arm. Ann Sarnoff has been promoted from COO to fill his shoes as president.

“As the media business continues to change at warp speed, Ann’s proven leadership coupled with her solid strategic and creative business sense will be a great asset to the company as she and the team move the business toward new heights,” said BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie.

Davie credited Scannell with building up the U.S. production operation with the development of buzzy hits such as “Orphan Black” and with shaping the BBC America cable channel. BBC America was taken over last year by AMC Networks in a deal that Scannell helped orchestrate.

Scannell said he intended to get back onto “the entrepreneurial path I was on in digital media” before he signed on to BBC Worldwide. “I have worked side-by-side with Ann for over 10 years – both here and at Viacom – and it’s been one of the most fruitful partnerships of my career. Ann will take BBC Worldwide to new places.”

Scannell is a Viacom veteran who joined BBC Worldwide in 2010. Sarnoff previously worked with Scannell during his long tenure at Nickelodeon. She reunited with him at BBC Worldwide in 2010.

Sarnoff has had oversight of key revenue-generating operations since she joined the company, including ad sales and affiliate deals for BBC America (prior to the AMC sale) and a wide range of content licensing for BBC product.

“We will continue to leverage the power of the BBC brand and the rich assets we have to grow across platforms,” she said.

BBC Worldwide is the for-profit production and distribution arm of the British pubcaster.