Speaking at The Media Society's 'Broadsheet vs Broadband' event, Pete Clifton said the BBC must act as a guide to content on the internet, including that of competitors.
Competition from newspaper websites, which is growing in terms of video, audio and citizen journalism content, is welcome, he added.
"It's not about people slavishly coming back to the BBC. This is a real change in our view that we feel much more part of the web," said Clifton.
"We want to say [to the audience] 'go and look at some alternative views' and to reflect a wider media community on the website."
In its review of the BBC's website in June, the BBC Trust said it was 'disappointed' with the click-through rate for the site's links to external sites and asked the corporation to improve this service for users.
The Trust now requires the BBC to measure the frequency and number of links it provides, but even without the report there would have been an increasing use of links, stressed Clifton.
As part of the attempt to link out the site began a four-week trial in August - linking to both BBC content and external sites within news articles.
Links to social media sites, including YouTube, Wikipedia and Flickr, and external news and organisations' sites were included in the experiment.
Implementing the Newstracker, a tool that can search thousands of external sources and provides a box of at least six related links to an item on bbc.co.uk, also aided this process, said Clifton.
The next step will be making the BBC's content, in particular news video, more shareable, he added.
"You have to understand the media landscape and start to make your content work more flexibly on different platforms," he said.
"We are very much of the view that the more we can share our content better. With video we should be where you can take a clip and plant it somewhere else."