UK broadcaster Channel 4 - parent of FilmFour - has named AndyDuncan as its new chief executive, succeeding Mark Thompson, who left to becomethe BBC's director general in May.

Duncan, who is currently director of marketing,communications and audiences at the BBC, will take up his new post at "as soonas possible", according to Channel 4.

In his current role, Duncan was also one of theco-architects of free-to-air digital terrestrial platform Freeview and iswidely credited with its successful launch and rollout. Freeview is a jointventure between the BBC, British Sky Broadcasting PLC and Crown Castle.

Prior to the BBC, Duncan spent 17 years at consumer goods giantUnilever.

It is the first time in Channel 4's history that it hasappointed a chief executive without a broadcasting background. He is understoodto have been up against the Talkback Thames chief executive, Peter Fincham, forthe Channel 4 job.

Theappointment is viewed by observers as an opportunity for the new Channel 4chairman Luke Johnson - best known as the entrepreneur behind the Pizza Expressrestaurant chain - to stamp his own authority on the channel.

Johnson said: "Andy is the brightest media executive ofthe Channel 4 generation and I think he's going to be a great champion of Channel4's public service mission and its unique brand of creativity.

"Hemust take much of the credit for Freeview's astonishing success and he's alsobeen integrally involved in a broad range of the BBC's key issues in the lastthree years, including digital strategy and switchover, brand strategy and theBBC's Charter Renewal communications.

"He combines genuine public service credentials with astrategic understanding of how digital media is developing that will provevital in negotiating the way ahead for Channel 4.

"Having a brand specialist like Andy at the helm willoffer us a competitive advantage in such a noisy and overcrowded marketplace.His skills will be very complementary to [director of programmes] Kevin Lygoand the rest of Channel 4's management team."