David Puttnam is to chair the development board of UK cultural body the British Film Institute (bfi), overseeing a newly-launched department with the brief of securing donors for the bfi Film Centre.

The department is to find corporate, trust and individual donors for the centre, which is due to start construction in 2003 subject to planning permission. The bfi aims to use the centre to present all of its public services under one roof.

The bfi has also appointed Sheridan Gould to the newly-created post of head of development. Gould, who joins the bfi next month, is currently development director at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

Puttnam said: "I've always felt somewhat uneasy at having done so little for the bfi, from where I've gained so much. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to redress the balance."

Joan Bakewell, chair of the bfi, commented: "The development of the Film Centre is a very ambitious undertaking, requiring expertise across a number of fields. Not only has Lord Puttnam enjoyed a highly successful career in film, he also has a great deal of experience in education and the arts."

Jon Teckman, bfi director, added: "[Gould's] valuable experience in fund-raising is vital to the long-term success of our exciting corporate development plans."