Curtis, 45, has taken the newly created position just three weeks after Sky's sales director, Mark Chippendale, announced that he was leaving after 14 years at the broadcaster (Campaign, 1 October). Milligan, the former deputy chief executive of five, joined Sky at the beginning of the year as Chippendale's new boss.
Curtis said: "Two things made me move. First, while I'm proud of what we've achieved in the three years at Viacom, the opportunity to do this on a bigger stage is appealing; second, the new Sky marketing approach provides a softer and more distinctive message to the consumer. I sense this is a new era for the entire business."
Curtis added that as well as leading sales across Sky's channels portfolio and interactive services, he wanted to make it a more customer-centric organisation. His start date has not yet been agreed although it is unlikely that he will participate in VBS's upcoming agency negotiations.
Nick Bampton, the sales director at VBS and a former colleague of both Milligan and Curtis at five, is tipped as his possible successor, although there are also rumours that Chippendale would be interested in taking the job.
Curtis and Milligan have worked as a double act on and off for more than 20 years. They first worked together at TVS in 1983 and, when Milligan left to start up the UK Gold sales team in 1993, Curtis followed as his sales controller. They also worked together for the launch of Channel 5 in 1997 with Curtis the deputy to Milligan, who was the sales director before being promoted to deputy chief executive.
Milligan said: "Paul has transformed VBS and he is in a class of his own. I am very proud that he wants to sit beside me at Sky Media as we move this business forward."
Curtis is the latest former senior five executive to join Sky. At the end of 2002, its chief executive Dawn Airey joined in the role of managing director of Sky Networks.
- Opinion, p27.