The BBC's current director of marketing has been appointed chief executive of Channel 4, replacing Mark Thompson.
Andy Duncan led the development of digital service Freeview
Andy Duncan, 41, won praise for his role in developing digital terrestrial service Freeview two years ago, following the collapse of ITV Digital.
He will move to Channel 4 to take the post vacated by Mr Thompson in May when he became director general of the BBC.
Luke Johnson, Channel 4 chairman, said: "Andy is the brightest media executive of the Channel 4 generation."
Mr Johnson said Mr Duncan's understanding of digital media and experience in public service broadcasting would prove very valuable.
Mr Duncan is expected to take up his post "as soon as possible".
"I think he's going to be a great champion of Channel 4's public service mission and its unique brand of creativity," Mr Johnson said.
The channel is publicly owned but paid for by commercials, unlike the BBC which is funded through the licence fee.
Mr Duncan joined the BBC three years ago after a 17-year stretch at Unilever, where he managed brands including Batchelors Supernoodles and Flora.
He served as chairman of Freeview, owned by the BBC, BSkyB and Crown Castle, as well as supervising the expansion of the corporation's digital output.
Mr Duncan said he was "very proud" to lead Channel 4 at "such an interesting period in its development".
He said: "All broadcasters are under pressure from the growth of digital TV, but I believe Channel 4 can face the future with confidence."
Mr Thompson said: "Andy Duncan has transformed the BBC's marketing and the organisation's attitude to audiences.
"He has played a pivotal role in the success of Freeview and in developing the BBC's digital strategy.
"We are sorry to see him go, but this is a very imaginative appointment."
Channel 4 agreed to reduce Mr Thompson's notice period so he could start his new BBC job last week.
The BBC in return offered to pay Channel 4's expenses in finding a new chief executive.