Ashley Highfield has left the BBC to become CEO of Kangaroo – the working title of the new video-on-demand (VOD) collaboration between the UK’s biggest broadcasters.

As director of Future Media and Technology at the BBC, Highfield was the man most intrinsically linked with the iPlayer – a project which has become a real trailblazer in terms of VOD.

Jumping ship

Kangaroo will see BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 collaborating in a three-way joint venture on a service that will launch this year. Highfield replaces the interim CEO Lesley Mackenzie, and will focus on rolling out the new service and negotiating with third-party content owners.

"This is a fantastic opportunity. Kangaroo is a historic partnership with a combination of innovative technology and terrific content and I'm looking forward to transforming the way audiences watch television," said Highfield.

Major project

The news was welcomed by the likes of ITV chairman Michael Grade, BBC World’s John Smith and Channel 4’s Andy Duncan.

Kangaroo’s launch is still subject to BBC trust approval and the board level rubber-stamp from ITV and Channel 4.