The Film Distributor's Association (FDA) has appointed Lord Puttnam CBE as its president.

His remit is to champion the business of film distribution at a time when the industry is reshaping itself to embrace the challenges and opportunities of digital technology. He will start in the position on December 1.

Lord Puttnam said: 'I believe passionately in the power of compelling stories, imaginatively told, as a force for social as well as economic good. As a rights owner, I clearly appreciate the essential role of distributors in connecting content with its audience. But I also recognise that the film business, like all media businesses, is in the throes of digital transition and if we fail to keep up, audiences will simply pass us by. That's why I'm genuinely excited to be FDA's new President and look forward greatly to the challenge.'

David Puttnam started out in advertising and then spent three decades in the film industry. His producer credits include Midnight Express, Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields. In 1987 he began a ten-year stint as Chair of the National Film & Television School.

He was knighted in 1995 and became a life peer two years later. He also chaired the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts (NESTA) for its first six years (1998-2004) and was made a lifetime fellow of BAFTA in 2006.

Mark Batey, FDA Chief Executive, said: 'Lord Puttnam is synonymous with quality British cinema, but he also brings unparalleled expertise across a broad range of policy areas. We will have at our helm a big guy who is a global player, a big beast in the jungle.'