Channel 4 head of drama Piers Wenger has been appointed BBC director of drama commissioning after four years at the ad-supported broadcaster.

He will take up the new role in the autumn, replacing independent drama commissioning editor Lucy Richer who has been acting BBC drama boss since Polly Hill’s departure to ITV earlier this year.

Wenger will be replaced at C4 by deputy head of drama Beth Willis.

Wenger joined Channel 4 in 2012 having previously been head of drama at BBC Wales and an executive producer on the reboot of Doctor Who, in which he cast Matt Smith as the lead role.

He was responsible for commissioning major C4 drama series over the past four years, including Indian Summers, Paul Abbott’s No Offence and Humans.

Indian Summers recorded the highest-ever overnight in 20 years for a C4 drama last year and Humans went onto break that record later in 2015.

Wenger will be responsible for commissioning across the whole of the BBC portfolio and oversee more than 450 hours of drama a year on the BBC.

He originally joined the BBC in 2008 and was also previously head of development at Granada Drama.

He will be replaced at C4 by Beth Willis, who has been deputy head of drama since 2012, working across Humans, No Offence and Indian Summers, as well as upcoming projects Crazy Face, Kiss Me First, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Peter Kosminsky’s ISIS drama.

He said it was with “real sadness that I am saying goodbye” to C4, but said the scale of the BBC opportunity made it “an irresistible challenge”.

BBC controller of TV channels and iPlayer Charlotte Moore said: “Piers is a brilliant creative leader with great taste and a passion for writing. He has a breadth of experience and knowledge of the global industry, as well as a real understanding of audiences.”

Jay Hunt said Wenger had been “an exceptional head of drama” and added: “It’s a fitting tribute to what he has achieved at C4 that he has been poached for the biggest job in drama commissioning”

She described Willis as “a passionate programme maker and a superlative commissioner”.