Dave Gibson, one of the country’s most high profile producers, has been appointed chief executive of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Gibson replaces Graeme Mason who took up his new role at Screen Australia a couple of weeks ago, the equivalent government agency of New Zealand’s nearest neighbour.

Gibson is both good-natured and not afraid to speak out. His move from the private sector into government will surprise some because of his fierce independence.

His decision to take up this role also represents a move from television into film. He has produced several feature films but for most of his career has working in television across a range of formats and also interactive systems for museums across the world.

The NZFC is responsible for directly funding film not television (handled by New Zealand On Air) although it does administer the Screen Production Incentive Fund, which caters for blue chip television drama.

Gibson’s feature film credits include Danny Mulheron’s Fresh Meat, which starred Temuera Morrison as a cannibal, and Glenn Standring’s The Irrefutable Truth About Demons.

 “Dave Gibson is one of New Zealand’s most experienced film and television producers and we are delighted to have secured his services for this important leadership role,” said NZFC chair Patsy Reddy.

“He has a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience of the New Zealand industry across both film and television which we see as invaluable for the NZFC, particularly as we seek to encourage the development of sustainable businesses with stronger international reach.”

Gibson takes up the five-year contract from January and has decided not to talk publicly until then.

A statement from NZFC noted that he is in the process of selling his shares in The Gibson Group, which he established 35 years ago, to a group of senior staff members and the sale would be completed by the time he takes the reins at the NZFC. He told ScreenDaily that those senior staff members are Victoria Spackman, Allan Smith, Brett Tompkins and Bevin Linkhorn.

Gibson has won dozens of awards for his productions and, via various organisations, has been very active as an industry lobbyist.

He was named in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours list: his Office of the New Zealand Order of Merit is for services to the film and television industry.