Garth Ancier Leaving BBC Worldwide America

Company says president will take advisory role after stepping down next March

BBC Worldwide America President Garth Ancier is stepping down and becoming an advisor to the company, the network says.

Ancier, the former president of entertainment for NBC and co-chairman of The WB, had been president of BBC Worldwide America since 2007. The company says he will remain in his current role until March, 2010, before taking on a non-executive advisory role. BBC Worldwide America includes the BBC America cable channel, a home entertainment division, a production arm as well as sales & distribution and digital.

Under his leadership, Ancier saw BBC America grow its distribution to 65 million homes, doubled its primetime ratings with imports such as Top Gear, Primeval and Torchwood and increased profits by 78% by bringing ad sales in-house. He is also responsible for the creation of BBC World News America, the Washington Based nightly newscast created specifically for the U.S. audience.

"The BBC is a truly extraordinary company reflecting the imagination and verve of the UK television industry," said Ancier in a statement. "It has been tremendously rewarding to grow the BBC's brand in this market and showcase the fantastic creativity and talent that exists in Britain. We have achieved a great deal over the past three years, but now feels the right time to transition to a new role where I can really help BBC Worldwide shape its strategy."

"Garth has simply transformed our business in the U.S. and we are tremendously grateful for all he has achieved," said BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith in a statement. "His impeccable experience, wise counsel and astute business sense, combined with genuine enthusiasm for the BBC brand, have taken us to a new level. I'm absolutely delighted Garth has agreed to stay on as a non-executive director so that we can continue to benefit from his insight and expertise as we continue to take the business forward."