ITV director of group development and strategy Carolyn Fairbairn will succeed Tim Davie as chairman of the UK’s free-to-air digital satellite television service Freesat in September.

Davie, currently the BBC’s director of marketing, communications and audiences, will relinquish the Freesat chair – which alternates between the BBC and ITV annually – when he becomes the corporation’s new director of audio and music.

Freesat was developed by the BBC and ITV plc. The service began broadcasting on 6 May 2008 and offers a satellite alternative to the Freeview service on digital terrestrial television.

The service expects to have 200 channels available by the end of 2008 – including subscription-free high definition channels from the BBC and ITV- and 230 by early 2009, with around 30 channels added each month.

Emma Scott, Freesat managing director, said: “Carolyn is a highly regarded industry figure and I’m certain that the strong strategic skills and expertise she continues to demonstrate at ITV will be of huge benefit to Freesat.

“I’m delighted that she has agreed to become Chairman of Freesat. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Tim for the great support and wise counsel he has provided during Freesat’s development and launch.”

Before joining ITV in 2007, Fairbairn worked at the BBC where she developed the corporation’s plans for Freeview as its director of strategy and distribution.

Fairbairn said: “Freesat plays a crucial role in ensuring that UK viewers have access to free-to-air digital and high definition television.

“After a successful launch earlier this year, the service has already proved itself to be popular with consumers and I’m delighted to be taking on the chairmanship.”

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