LONDON (AP) _ A top aide to the Archbishop of Canterbury has been appointed the first chief executive of the Princess Diana memorial fund.

Andrew Purkis will quit as public affairs secretary to Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey in June to take up the $125,000 a year job.

The fund is controversial _ both because of resentments and competition among charities hoping for grants, and because critics complain some fundraising items are tacky.

Purkis, 49, will be ``responsible for guiding the trustees in defining the fund's mission and strategy'' and representing the fund worldwide, the fund's trustees said in a statement today.

Purkis said the fund could do great things in Diana's memory ``to encourage human warmth and compassion ... and help many charitable causes which enrich our common life in this country and further afield.''

The fund stood at nearly $70 million when the first grants totaling nearly $22 million were made last month. Cancer and leprosy charities and children's hospitals were among the main beneficiaries.

Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, is president of the fund and Diana's butler, Paul Burrell, is the fundraising manager.

Diana died in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31.