Newsnight editor Ian Katz is leaving the BBC to become director of programmes at Channel 4.
In an email sent to the Newsnight team, Katz said he was “excited” to be taking up the new role but “incredibly sad” to be leaving the current affairs show.
Katz has been at the helm of BBC Two’s late-night news programme since 2013 and has overseen major changes there.
The 50-year-old previously had a career in print journalism and was deputy editor of The Guardian.
In the email, Katz said: “The last four years have been some of the toughest of my professional career, but also undoubtedly the most rewarding.”
He added that the Newsnight team were “the most remarkable group of journalists, and people – ridiculously talented, relentlessly contrary, extraordinarily warm, and occasionally very funny”.
Katz said he would still enjoy watching the show “religiously” and would admire it from afar.
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said: “Ian is an inspirational leader who assiduously builds and nurtures talented and empowered teams.
“He has fantastic instincts and intelligence, huge editorial strength and is a proven creative and digital innovator, who lives and breathes the Channel 4 values.”
The BBC’s director of news James Harding congratulated Katz, saying his departure would be a “huge loss” for the corporation.
In a statement, Harding said Katz’s time at Newsnight “has restored its reputation for fearless journalism, for powerful film-making and for rigorous intelligence on television”.
Katz oversaw a number of changes to the Newsnight on-air line-up, including the departure of Jeremy Paxman after 25 years on the programme.
In an interview with the Evening Standard in 2014, Katz admitted he hadn’t seen eye-to-eye with the presenter and said the pair had endured “robust exchanges” during their time together.
Katz is credited with bringing a host of key talent to the BBC, including recruiting Laura Kuenssberg from ITV.
And he brought in new presenters including Evan Davis and LBC’s James O’Brien.
Katz will start his new role in January, taking over from Ralph Lee. His successor at Newsnight is yet to be announced.