Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed BBC journalist Craig Oliver as his new director of communications.
The 41-year-old, currently Controller of BBC Global News, replaces Andy Coulson, who resigned earlier this month amid the continuing row over phone-hacking when he was editor of the News of the World.
Mr Cameron said: “I am very pleased that Craig Oliver is to become the new Director of Communications at 10 Downing Street.
“Craig has formidable experience as a broadcast journalist. He will do an excellent job in explaining and communicating the Government’s programme.”
Mr Oliver said: “I’m delighted to be joining David Cameron and his team at such an exciting and challenging time.
“It’s difficult to leave the BBC after a fascinating few years – but this is an opportunity I can’t turn down.”
Mr Oliver was a surprise appointment, having failed to feature in frenzied speculation over who would get the job. Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman, Gabby Bertin, had been among the favourites, while ITV Political Editor Tom Bradby’s name had also been widely mentioned.
The coalition will hope that, as the product of a Scottish comprehensive, Mr Oliver can offset criticism over the dominance of public school-educated people at the top level of government. He studied at St Andrews University before entering the media, working for Channel 4 News and serving as Head of Output at ITV News between 2002 and 2006 – responsible for overseeing ITV’s Lunchtime News, Evening News and News At Ten.
He was also Editor of ITV’s 2005 General Election programme. After joining the BBC, he edited the News At Ten and News At Six, and was the corporation’s General Election Editor in 2010.
Mr Oliver, who has three daughters with BBC newsreader wife Joanna Gosling, will be employed as a special adviser.