Williams will join the UK arm of Israel’s Keshet International in July after four years as creative director of BBC Entertainment North.
He was also a commissioning editor for entertainment at Channel 4, where he greenlit Made in Chelsea and was a founding team member on Big Brother, on which he later led production.
“I have followed David’s career for a long time and am delighted to have prized him away from the BBC,” said Keshet UK managing director Sammy Nourmand. “His arrival further demonstrates Keshet’s ongoing willingness to invest in the UK and work with the best British talent.”
Williams led development of entertainment and factual entertainment programmes across all BBC channels while at its northern base, working on shows such as Call the Council and Junior Paramedics, and overseeing long-running series including Dragons’ Den. At Keshet, he will oversee unscripted efforts.
The appointment comes nearly seven months after Simon Shalgosky, who had been head of development, left to join Lion Television, as TBI reported first at the time.
Executive producer Susan Maxwell, who in part replaced Shalgosky, will report into Williams, as will head UK formats Kevin Mundye.
To this point, the unit has produced series such as ITVBe’s workplace dating format When Do You Get Off?, while the scripted team found success with BBC One drama The A Word and has Channel 4 drama Loaded on its slate.
“It’s been a privilege to get my BBC badge of honour with the brilliant people of Entertainment North, but the opportunity to return to my commercial roots with Keshet was too tempting to turn down. With big plans and creativity at their heart they feel like a fantastic fit and I can’t wait to get cracking.”