Huggers takes new-media reins at BBC

Replaces Ashley Highfield who will run Kangaroo

LONDON -- The BBC has promoted Erik Huggers from group controller of future media and technology to director of the division.

Beginning Aug. 1, Huggers will have overall responsibility for the pubcaster's output on the Internet, interactive TV and emerging platforms such as its broadband catch-up service iPlayer. He has control of an annual budget of about 400 million pounds ($800 million).

Before the BBC, Huggers, a Dutch national, was with Microsoft for nine years in a variety of roles.

"He has shown tremendous commitment championing the iPlayer amongst many other projects. I look forward to him bringing his drive and determination to this new role, helping ensure the BBC is fit for the digital future," BBC director general Mark Thompson said.

Huggers replaces Ashley Highfield, who left the corporation last month to head up the launch of Project Kangaroo, the BBC's IPTV joint venture with ITV and Channel 4, which is currently being scrutinized by the Competition Commission.