Tim Davie [pictured], the BBC’s director of Audio & Music, is to replace John Smith as the chief executive of BBC Worldwide.

The BBC today confirmed the much trailed move, which will see Smith step down after eight years heading up the corporation’s commercial arm.

Davie will take on the role from Dec 1 and will be tasked with overseeing a period of significant change for the business, set out by BBC director general George Entwistle to the Trust earlier this year.

A senior BBCW source made clear that it was Smith’s decision to leave and said that his final remuneration package will not be finalised until the BBC’s annual report is published next year. This is because his bonuses are tied to the performance of the business.

“I want to thank John for his enormous contribution to the success of BBCW in recent years,” said Entwistle.

“He has turned the company into a truly global phenomenon delivering a fantastic financial injection into the BBC every year.”

His departure brings to an end Smith’s 23-year BBC career, which included a period as chief operating officer and finance director where he was responsible for transforming the corporation’s property estate, including New Broadcasting House.

Under Smith’s leadership BBCW has doubled its revenue, grown profits four-fold and returned £1.3bn to the corporation through the successful exploitation of brands, including Top Gear and Doctor Who.

Smith said he was “looking forward” to taking on new challenges in “the commercial world”, adding that it had been a “huge privilege” leading BBCW.

Davie steps up

Davie has long been linked with the role and is thought to have been unsettled in his position as director of Audio & Music for some time. He narrowly missed out on becoming the chief executive of All3Media to advertising executive Farah Ramzan Golant in July.

Before taking control of the BBC’s radio output in 2008, Davie was director of the BBC’s marketing, communications and audiences division for three years. He also has commercial experience having been the vice president of marketing and franchise for PepsiCo Europe, where he managed business franchises across ten international markets.

“Building on John’s success Tim will now take the BBC’s commercial arm into the next chapter of its development,” Entwistle said. Davie added that it was an “honour” to be asked to lead BBCW “through its next phase of growth”.

He will continue to put in place a re-structure set out by Smith in July, which will see the business reconfigured from divisional to geographic lines of management. It means BBCW’s seven global hubs (North America, the UK, Australia/New Zealand, Western Europe, Asia, Latin America and CEEMEA) will be handed more responsibility for profit and loss.

The recruitment for Davie’s successor at Audio & Music will begin imminently. Controller of production Graham Ellis will step up on an interim basis.

This story was originally published by Broadcast