EXCLUSIVE: UKTV, the British broadcaster owned by Discovery and BBC Worldwide, has hired former ITV Studios executive Ronan as it expands further into original programming.

Hand joins in the newly created role of Director of Programme Funding and will be responsible for forging new partnerships for programming. Reporting to Chief Commercial Officer Simon Michaelides, he will also work on commercial partnerships, co-productions and programme distribution as well as explore new areas such as airtime funded programming.

Hand, who was previously SVP global content, non-scripted and co-productions, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, joins in May. He will work closely with  UKTV’s commissioning team led by director of commissioning Richard Watsham.

UKTV’s expanded move into originals comes after it ordered Anna Paquin-fronted comedy drama Flack, which is a co-production with U.S. network Pop.

Ronan Hand said, “UKTV has been a company whose work I’ve admired during my time working in the TV industry and when the opportunity arose to join them in this role it felt a great fit. I’m very much looking forward to bringing my energy and passion to their team and helping create more great content for UKTV’s dedicated audiences.”

Michaelides added, “I’m delighted to welcome Ronan to UKTV. He has a glowing reputation, a keen editorial eye, and a wealth of experience across multiple genres, all of which make him ideally suited to help us realise our ambitions as an originator of differentiated content. At UKTV we value creativity, collaboration, and the ability to challenge the status quo. These are precisely the skills that Ronan has built his reputation on, and we look forward to him putting them into practice at UKTV.”