The BBC has announced today the appointment of Etienne de Villiers as the independent Chairman for the BBC's Commercial Holdings Board (CHB) following a rigorous competitive selection process managed by external headhunters.
Commencing on 1 September, de Villiers will report to Mark Thompson, Director-General, BBC.
Mark Thompson commented: "The BBC's commercial businesses provide a vital source of additional income for the BBC and are now on an ambitious growth path to increase their contribution to the BBC in the interests of licence fee payers.
"Etienne de Villiers has an outstanding reputation in the international media business and, as non-executive chairman of the Commercial Board, will contribute to the achievement of the growth as well as strengthening the governance of our commercial activities."
Etienne de Villiers said: "This is an exciting opportunity to take part in shaping the BBC through the next phase of its evolution in broadcasting.
"I am a huge supporter of the Corporation and believe that a strong independent BBC with a meaningful branded presence around the world brings enormous value to Britain, as well as to the licence fee payer."
Currently Chairman of ATP Inc, the governing body of men's professional tennis, Etienne de Villiers has spent a career in the media.
Previously a non-Executive Director of both ITV plc and Carlton Communications plc, from 1986 to 2000 he was President of Walt Disney Television, International responsible for all television distribution, production and broadcasting activities of The Walt Disney Company Inc outside the United States.
By 2000 the international TV division had a turnover of approximately $1bn with 1,400 employees (including joint ventures) in over 20 countries, having grown from six employees and revenues of $15m when he joined in 1986.
He left in 2001 as President and Managing Director of Walt Disney International responsible for directing and coordinating all Disney's activities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
He is a founder senior partner of Englefield Capital, a London based private equity firm.
He also holds a number of non-Executive Director roles: Jetix Europe; Video Networks Limited; and Pi Capital Ltd.
Etienne de Villiers will start his role on 1 September 2005.
It is intended to add at least one other non-executive director to CHB to further improve the corporate governance.
Notes to Editors
About the BBC Commercial Holdings Board
The BBC Commercial Holdings Board Ltd has been established to support and further the objectives of the Corporation set out in the Charter.
It serves to act, and to use its rights and powers to ensure that the BBC's commercial dealings are at all times undertaken by the provisions as set out in the BBC Charter.
This includes the BBC's Fair Trading and Editorial Guidelines and all applicable laws and regulations.
The Board reports to the BBC's Executive Board and Board of Governors.