John Cridland will take the helm at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in January when current director general Richard Lambert steps down after four years.
Cridland, who has been deputy director-general since 2000, will be appointed for a five-year term at the end of January 2011 on a salary of £310,000.
He joined the CBI as a policy adviser in 1982 and became its youngest-ever director in 1991, when he took over the environmental affairs brief, before moving on to human resources policy in 1995.
Before joining the CBI, Cridland served on the Low Pay Commission from its inception in 1997 until 2007, and as an ACAS councillor for the same period.
He also served on the Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance, and the Women and Work Commission, and was vice-chairman of the Learning & Skills Council until this year.
CBI president Helen Alexander says: "As deputy director-general, John has been Richard's right hand man and an invaluable chief operating officer.
"He has been instrumental in helping to shape business and public attitudes on issues ranging from the minimum wage and flexible working, to industrial relations and the environment."
"The CBI is proud to present John Cridland as its 10th director-general, the first insider to come through the organisation to this role."
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Ceremony will take place 13 November