Evan Davis has been announced as Jeremy Paxman’s replacement on Newsnight.
Paxman bowed out of the BBC Two news programme after 25 years in June.
BBC director general Tony Hall said that Evan, best known for his role on Dragons’ Den and Radio 4 flagship breakfast news show Today, would do an ‘outstanding’ job.
The news comes after a turbulent period for Newsnight in which an investigation into Jimmy Savile’s sex crimes was dropped and a separate story led to Lord McAlpine being wrongly accused of child abuse.
The show’s female presenters, Laura Kuenssberg, Kirsty Wark and Emily Maitlis, had all been tipped for the plum role.
The director general said: “Evan is an outstanding journalist, an extraordinarily clever and intelligent interviewer.
“He has a wonderful presence on TV. I’ve got no doubt he will be a really great presence on Newsnight.”
Evan said on Twitter: “I didn’t believe it when I read about it in the papers but now it’s official. I’ll be leaving @BBCr4today and heading off to Newsnight.
“I had been determined to outlive John Humphrys on @BBCr4today so I have failed. But you can’t turn down Newsnight.”
Evan will be the anchor for Newsnight three nights a week from the autumn.
A former economics editor on the programme, he has been a Today programme host for six years. Kirsty Wark, Emily Maitlis and Laura Kuenssberg will all continue to present Newsnight.
The programme’s editor Ian Katz said: “Evan brings a rare combination of curiosity, intelligence and mischief to his broadcasting – just the qualities I want Newsnight to be known for. I’ve admired him from afar as a listener and viewer for years, and I’m thrilled that he’s joining us to help reinvent the show where he made his name in the 90s.”
Evan, formerly an economist before joining the BBC, said of his new roles: “While it is a scary prospect, it will be an adventure and a challenge, and I hope the viewers will be happy with the result.”
Evan’s appointment ahead of Newsnight’s Kuenssberg, Wark and Maitlis, came as the BBC Trust pointed to a ‘continued gender imbalance in BBC output’.
It said there needs to be ‘a co-ordinated plan from the Executive’ to address the issue.
It added: “There have been notable individual examples of a new commitment from the Executive to improve the representation of women on air, and some broader initiatives, such as the commitment for 50% of local radio stations to have a female breakfast presenter by the end of 2014.”