Darren Childs, chief executive of UKTV, is to step down. He will remain in his post until July while the board evaluates its options.
In a statement released this morning to announce Childs’ resignation, UKTV said it would "explore new leadership options for the next phase of growth".
The news comes two days after The Times reported that incoming investors in rugby's Premiership tournament, private-equity group CVC, wanted to appoint Childs as chief executive of its commercial arm, Premier Rugby Limited.
A Premiership spokesman said he could not talk about CVC's plans given the investment deal has not yet completed.
The departure of Childs follows persistent media reports that UKTV’s joint owners, the BBC and Discovery, are close to agreeing a break-up of the business that would parcel out the channels between them.
Childs has been in the role since 2010, when the shareholders were Virgin Media and the BBC. In 2011, Virgin sold its stake to Scripps Interactive, which was acquired by Discovery last year.
Tim Davie, chief executive of BBC Studios, said Childs would "leave UKTV in extremely good health, with a great team at all levels and will take our very best wishes this summer for his own next move".
JB Perrette, president and chief executive of Discovery, praised Childs’ "invaluable contribution to the business".
UKTV’s statement also highlighted that, during Childs’ time at the helm, it has grown its commerical share of viewing by 42%, increased revenues by 66% and nearly tripled profits.