Jana Bennett is leaving BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, following a major reorganisation that will see her global responsibilities split between seven new regional divisions.
BBC Worldwide confirmed on Friday that Bennett will be stepping down from her job as president of worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer, as predicted by MediaGuardian earlier this month.
Bennett's departure brings down the curtain on a BBC career spanning more than 30 years.
The BBC confirmed she will remain with BBC Worldwide until late autumn as part of the handover process and to complete "a number of major commercial deals".
BBC Worldwide's reorganisation will result in the business switching from five global divisions to seven geographic units, including the UK, North America, and Australia and New Zealand. The heads of each region will have responsibility for turning a profit from their business unit.
Bennett said: "My time at BBC Worldwide has been exciting and stimulating. I am delighted to have grown the BBC's international channel portfolio at a time when global markets are so highly competitive and to have brought quality British programmes and events to new audiences around the world both through our worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer pilot.
"However with the move of P&L [profit and loss] responsibility under the new structure, I feel this is a good moment for me to work outside BBC Worldwide."
BBC Worldwide's new geographical divisions will cover North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Western Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Chief officer posts are also being created covering sales, brands, digital and content. All four positions will report to Smith. The seven regions will report to four presidents, all of whom will report to Smith and sit on the BBC Worldwide executive committee.
The BBC said that the new structure was agreed "following several months of work" and will take effect on October 1 2012.
Bennett joined BBC Worldwide in her current job in February 2011, with responsibility for the global rollout of the iPlayer.
She also oversees BBC Worldwide's wholly-owned channels outside the US, including BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies and BBC HD and the corporation's 50% stake in the UKTV joint venture with Virgin Media, which operates 10 networks including Dave, Gold and Watch.
Bennett moved to BBC Worldwide after eight years as BBC Vision director and director of television, responsible for the corporation's portfolio of TV channels.
She was once seen as a possible contender for director general. However, her stock fell after she was criticised for showing "a lack of curiosity" about what had occurred by the official BBC report into the 2007 Crowngate affair, which also led to the departure of the BBC1 controller, Peter Fincham.
A BBC veteran who has spent all her career at the corporation aside from a two-and-a-half-year stint running Discovery's TLC cable channel in the US, Bennett joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1979. She went on to work for Newsnight, The Money Programme and Nationwide before producing Panorama, editing Horizon, and running the BBC science department in the late 1990s when it made Walking with Dinosaurs and The Human Body.
John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said: "Jana has made a hugely positive contribution to BBC Worldwide in her time here. She deserves our gratitude, and leaves us a great legacy to build on. She has extended our channels internationally, driven schedule changes which have translated into ratings and advertising uplifts, and moved forward our digital offer across several platforms."
Mark Thompson, BBC director general, added: "The BBC has been fortunate to benefit from Jana's talents in many ways. As a director of television, and later director of Vision, she was second to none, with a record that speaks for itself in both reach and appreciation across the many services she was responsible for."
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