BBC future media and technology director Ashley Highfield is quitting to become CEO of Project Kangaroo – an upcoming online TV JV between ITV (LSE: ITV), Channel 4 and the BBC’s profit-making BBC Worldwide wing – marking a return to the commercial sector after eight years. He will replace interim CEO Lesley MacKenzie.
A former Flextech and NBC boss, Highfield’s pet BBC projects have included the £131 million ($262 million) programme to digitize production and multiplatform output – notably the controversial but successful iPlayer brand. A commercial alternative led by the BBC’s revenue-making wing, Kangaroo will offer programming outside iPlayer’s one-week public service window and will, therefore, use both pay-for and ad-supported models.
Highfield has previously grumbled about the slow regulatory approval required for new BBC services. His departure will open a vacuum atop the BBC