Philip Graf, the man charged with leading a major review of the BBC's online services, is a senior media industry figure who headed Britain's biggest newspaper group until 2002.
Announcing his appointment to the key role, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the former Trinity Mirror boss had the skills to ensure the investigation was both "comprehensive and thorough".
He will have to use his experience to decide whether the BBC has stuck to the terms it agreed when it started what has become Europe's biggest web service.
Mr Graf, a Belfast-born businessman, earned his formidable reputation after joining Trinity in 1985, as deputy managing director of the Liverpool Echo.
In the years that followed the 55-year-old quickly worked his way up the career ladder.
He became Trinity's chief executive in 1993 and the head of Trinity Mirror in 1999, when the company merged with the Mirror Group.
In the final year of his job Mr Graf was described by the Guardian newspaper as one of the most influential figures in the media industry.
He was reportedly earning £430,000 for leading a business with a £1bn turnover.
Mr Graf said he was looking forward to the challenge of producing the BBC online report, which will eventually feed into the government's review of the corporation's charter.
He said: "The BBC holds a unique place in our nation's cultural life and its website
has been a significant part of the internet revolution that has irrevocably
altered communications in recent years.
"This is why I relish the opportunity to conduct this very important review. I can assure all concerned that it will be both open-minded and vigorous."
He will submit a full report to the Secretary of State by Spring 2004, which will then be published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
At the end of this year, Mr Graf will also take over as chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, which funds the Press Complaints Commission.