Roberts joined the BFI in 2012 as director of its film fund. He was upped to deputy CEO late last year. He starts as CEO in Feb.
“Ben is a rare talent, with broad experience and understanding of the complexities of our screen industries – from the cultural landscape and developing new voices to growing U.K. independent film; from the challenges facing the U.K. film industry to what drives the U.K.’s success as a global destination for filmmakers,” said BFI Chair Josh Berger, who announced the appointment Tuesday.
Berger added: “The BFI has an important role in shaping the exciting cultural and commercial opportunities presented by the broader screen industries and Ben is the person to lead this.”
Nicky Morgan, the British government’s culture secretary, said that Roberts would “continue to take the organization from strength to strength. I look forward to working with him to ensure the ongoing success of the British film industry, with a renewed focus on skills, diversity and inclusion.”
Roberts thanked Nevill, the first woman to run the BFI, for bringing him into the organization and said: “Film is egalitarian, and I want everyone to see the BFI as their home, to see themselves in our programs, and feel welcome in our industry. We need all the diversity of voice, thought and talent to maximize the potential of the U.K.’s growing screen industries.”
The BFI’s newly anointed CEO has been one of the architects of the BFI Diversity Standards and devised a new template for inclusive training with Lucasfilm and Disney for the BFI’s academy. He has stewarded the BFI Network talent program and developed the BFI Film Audience Network, a community of promoters and exhibitors.
Robert has two decades of experience in the film industry, spanning sales, acquisitions, U.K. distribution, and film finance. He has served as CEO of Protagonist Pictures, and before that was at Universal Pictures and independent British distributor Metrodome.