BBC Studios head Tim Davie will replace Tony Hall as director general of the BBC.
Mr Davie will replace Tony Hall at the start of September and will be tasked with securing the future direction and financing of the broadcaster in the wake of UK government scepticism of the current model.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has questioned if the 98-year-old corporation should continue to be supported by the annual licence fee, given the growth of subscription services such as Netflix.
Davie said in a statement that he was "honoured" to be handed the role.
"This has been a critical time for the UK and these past few months have shown just how much the BBC matters to people," he said.
"Our mission has never been more relevant, important or necessary. I have a deep commitment to content of the highest quality and impartiality.
"Looking forward, we will need to accelerate change so that we serve all our audiences in this fast-moving world. Much great work has been done, but we will continue to reform, make clear choices and stay relevant. I am very confident we can do this because of the amazing teams of people that work at the BBC."
Mr Hall said of his successor: "He is a fantastic leader. I wish him every success for the future. I know that the BBC is in safe hands."
David Clementi, chairman of the BBC Board, said: "Tim has a strong track record as the CEO of BBC Studios and is one of the most respected names in the industry.
"His leadership and experience, both outside the BBC and within, will ensure that we are well placed to meet the opportunities and challenges of the coming years. Tim has an enthusiasm and energy for reform, while holding dear to the core mission of the BBC.
"We know that the industry is undergoing unprecedented change and the organisation faces significant challenges as well as opportunities. I am confident that Tim is the right person to lead the BBC as it continues to reform and change."