Alan Davey, the chief executive of Arts Council England (ACE), has been named as the new controller at Radio 3, the BBC has confirmed.

In a message to Arts Council England staff and National Portfolio Organisation clients, Davey spoke of being “excited (and a little dazed) and sad at the same time”, and feeling “really conflicting emotions.”

He added: “I am more passionate than ever about the power that arts and culture has to transform lives and why it is so important that each and every one of us has the opportunity to experience that for ourselves. We’ve done some brilliant things and there is more to do. And I know that all your skills and enthusiasm will make sure we do those things.

“In spreading serious music and ideas at Radio 3 I will carry with me the flame and the passion of how we do things – spotting opportunities, knowing a great deal about the art and loving it, and never being afraid to try something new.”

Search begins

Appointed chief executive of ACE in 2007, Davey was previously at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Prior to that had a spell at the then Department of National Heritage where he was in charge of designing the National Lottery.

Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of ACE, commented: “It’s too early to speculate on who might be appointed to replace Alan, but their task is clear – to build on that legacy and maintain the high regard that I believe the Arts Council now enjoys. I’m pleased Alan will continue with us for the three months of his notice period. We will begin the search for a new chief executive straight away.”

Davey will remain at Arts Council England until then end of 2014, before succeeding Roger Wright at Radio 3 early next year.