U.K. radio veteran executive Ralph Bernard has been named chief executive at 5,500-capacity London venue the Royal Albert Hall.

Bernard will succeed David Elliott, who retires at the end of May after 11 years in the post. A former chairman of the Digital Radio Development Bureau, Bernard stepped down from his role as chief executive of broadcasting group GCap Media in 2008.

With a radio career dating back to 1980, Bernard was responsible for the creation of the U.K.'s first national commercial classical radio station, Classic FM, in 1992 and served as its chief executive from 1997-2007. He was also chairman and chief executive of its then-parent, commercial broadcaster the GWR Group (1982-2005). He remains Classic FM's non-executive chairman.

The Royal Albert Hall is a registered charity and operates without public subsidy. Although primarily viewed as a classical music venue, pop/rock events taking place there in the coming two months include shows by Van Morrison, Morrissey, Eric Clapton, Nick Lowe and Jackson Browne.

In a statement, the president of the governing council of the Royal Albert Hall, John Antcliffe said: "Ralph's deep understanding of media and entertainment and wide business experience will be of immense value in the years ahead." He added: "the Hall has never been in better shape -- we have an exciting programme for the rest of 2009 and have every reason to look to the future with confidence."