Sky Italia, the leading Italian pay-television operator, has appointed Andrea Duilio as its new chief executive.

Duilio, who had been heavily linked with the role, is joining the Comcast-owned broadcaster from Vodafone Italia, an arm of the international telecoms firm.

He will take up his new role on 6 September, succeeding Maximo Ibarra, who stepped down in April, and reporting to Stephen van Rooyen, Sky chief executive for the UK and Europe.

Duilio has spent the last two decades at Vodafone Italia, most recently as director of its consumer business unit.

The appointment comes as Sky Italia seeks to ward off the challenge posed by digital-only platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix and overcome the loss of primary rights to Italian soccer’s top-tier Serie A, to OTT sports service DAZN.

Van Rooyen said: “I am delighted to welcome Andrea Duilio as the new CEO of Sky Italia and to work with him in carrying out our ambitious development plans. Duilio’s experience will give an important push to the innovation and growth of Sky Italia, completing the transition towards a leaner and integrated business model with the group.”