David Kosse is leaving Universal Pictures to become director of Film4.
The studio boss behind cinema hits including Mamma Mia! and the Bourne films is taking on one of the most influential jobs in British cinema.
Film4 has developed some of the UK's most successful films of recent years, including Oscar winners 12 Years a Slave, Slumdog Millionaire and The Iron Lady.
Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham said: "After a very thorough search, I am delighted that David Kosse will lead the next chapter of Film4. David is one of the most respected leaders in the film industry today. He has built impeccable creative relationships with British and international talent and is also steeped in knowledge and experience of changing distribution models in film. I know that David will be a great addition to my management team and I greatly look forward to seeing his vision unfold at 4."
Kosse will replace Tessa Ross in November after she leaves to become Chief Executive of the National Theatre.
Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive of the BFI (British Film Insititute), said: "Our congratulations to Channel 4 on bringing David Kosse on board, whose experience and reputation makes this a real coup for them. We value highly the partnership relationship that exists between Film4 and the BFI and know how important it is that this remains dynamic and creative, and are really excited about working with David."