Birmingham Royal Ballet has appointed Christopher Barron, chief executive of Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet, as its new chief executive.

He will succeed Derek Purnell, who is moving to Norfolk to pursue a freelance career, in October.

Mr Barron has spent a torrid five years at the helm of the two Scottish companies, wrestling with long-term financial and structural problems. Scottish Opera has come close to extinction, and was forced to lay off 88 staff last year.

Reporting his departure yesterday, The Scotsman said: " His departure was widely expected after one of the toughest tenures in Scottish Opera's 40- year history.

"At Scottish Ballet, Mr Barron saw the revived dance company win back the respect of critics under a new artistic director."

Mr Barron previously spent six years as artistic director and chief executive of the Brighton Festival and Dome. He was also director of Manchester City of Drama in 1993 and worked for the Edinburgh Festival during the 1980s as general manger and associate director.

Last night BRB director David Bintley said: " Christopher Barron brings a wealth of experience and great, indepth knowledge of dance, theatre and the performing arts".

Mr Barron said: "I am delighted to be joining BRB, a company whose success I have admired. I very much look forward to working with David at such an exciting time for the company."

BRB's chair, Tessa King-Farlow added: "We are delighted to have appointed Christopher. We believe his appointment will take BRB to a new level of excellence."