Robin Gutch is stepping down as head of FilmFour Lab, FilmFour's low-budget and experimental division.

Gutch's position and the Lab were though to be safe despite FilmFour being folded back into parent broadcaster Channel 4 last year, but Gutch was one of the candidates to head Channel 4's entire film operation, a position which went to head of drama Tessa Ross.

'Both Mark Thompson and Tessa Ross have been extremely robust in their commitment to continuing the Lab in the new FilmFour, which is good news for the many exciting new filmmakers we are working with,' he said. 'However, I now feel that this is a time for me personally to take a change in direction.'

Channel 4 is looking to replace Gutch, who built up a strong a reputation for backing new talent such as Jump Tomorrow's Joel Hopkins and My Brother Tom's Dom Rotheroe during his four years at the Lab. Gutch is moving into independent film and drama production.

"Robin has done a fantastic job of creating the Lab as a place for new young talent to thrive and leaves behind a great slate of projects," Ross said. 'I wish him all the best and very much hope to continue working with him.'

John Yorke, who is currently head of drama series for BBC Television, will replace Ross, joining Channel 4 in the spring and reporting to Tim Gardam, director of programmes. Head of comedy Caroline Leddy will now also oversee film comedy. Leddy was responsible for shows such as Smack The Pony, Brass Eye, Trigger Happy TV and The 11 O'clock Show.