In a key managerial move at UK National Lottery studio franchise The Film Consortium, chief executive Chris Auty has become a director of Civilian Content, the media operation which agreed to buy the franchise this year.

The appointment, which takes place with immediate effect, is expected to bolster the franchise's position within the Civilian combine, which has styled its acquisition of the consortium as a merger rather than a take-over in spirit. Auty is to work alongside Richard Holmes, the producer of Dead Babies, Waking Ned and Shooting Fish who became Civilian's managing director.

"Alongside the TV business, the future of the group revolves around the development of film activities, and that is very largely driven by the Film Consortium," Auty told Screen International.

Auty joined the consortium from Jeremy Thomas' production outfit Recorded Picture Company, where he was managing director. He is also a board member of UK film super body the Film Council.

"Chris is a highly respected individual in the UK film industry and brings to Civilian Content a great depth of experience," said Richard Thompson, chairman of Civilian. "His creative talent as a producer and commercial understanding of the media industry marries well with the ethos of Civilian Content, and he will make an invaluable contribution to the company's development into a significant player in the media industry."

The franchise recently cleared its mid-term review by the Film Council. It has access to more than $43m in lottery cash over six years.