The chief executive of BT Entertainment is leaving the company before it launches the BT Vision television and broadband video service he was responsible for establishing.

Andrew Burke was appointed head of the new Entertainment division of the leading UK telecommunications company in November 2004. It is understood he will leave BT at the end of April and will not be replaced.

His departure comes at critical time in the development of the service, amid increasing competition to deliver video over broadband.

“Andrew Burke is leaving BT by mutual consent to pursue other interests,” the company said in a statement. “He has made an enormous contribution to the development of BT Vision and has helped assemble a world-class team that everyone is confident will deliver a successful launch in the autumn.”

Primary responsibility for BT Vision will rest with Dan Marks, chief executive of TV services at what is now known as BT TV. He was previously with Universal Studios Networks in the UK, and before that was head of programming at Video Networks in London.

Andrew Burke consistently dismissed suggestions that BT would become a broadcaster or a content company. “For us, being a telco, it’s about the platform, the access, the equipment in the home, the support and the billing,” he said in September 2005. “It’s not about the content, we will partner for that. BT is not a content company in any shape or form.”

However, his colleague Dan Marks was more publicly ambitious about his programming plans. In February 2006 he appointed an executive from Disney as director of interactive and commercial media, saying that it “underlines BT’s commitment to building a world-class television service staffed by the most talented team of entertainment professionals”.

Dan Marks was representing the BT Vision service at the MIPTV television market in Cannes. BT has previously announced a number of deals with high-profile providers of programming for the broadband video service.