Tom Giles is to leave Panorama after four years as editor and will be replaced, temporarily, by former Today editor Ceri Thomas.
Giles will now be tasked with plotting the future of BBC current affairs when he leaves the programme.
He will spend the summer leading a review after a BBC Trust report said the corporation’s current affairs coverage needed more “clout”.
On completing the review, the BBC said Giles would be given a “senior role” in the autumn.
Thomas, who edited Today between 2006 and 2012, will be in charge at Panorama for six months when a new editor will be appointed.
Director of news and current affairs James Harding said: “For the last four years, Tom Giles has been an exceptional editor of Panorama.
“We should all be proud of the programme under his tireless, hands-on editorship.
“Four years is a lifetime as Panorama editor and Tom and I have been talking for a while about how we can exploit his many talents and enable him to move up in the BBC.
“It is my belief, given his unique range of experience in journalism and film-making, he is the best person to devise a blueprint to shape what we do in current affairs for a long time to come.”