Turkey's former finance minister Kemal Dervis has been nominated to lead the United Nations Development Programme.
Kofi Annan says Kemal Dervis has a proven track record
It is the first time the administrator of the UN's largest independently funded agency has been chosen from outside the major donor nations.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Mr Dervis, a former World Bank executive, had a "passionate commitment to addressing the scourge of poverty".
His choice now goes to the 191-member General Assembly for approval.
Mr Dervis, 56, Turkey's finance minister between March 2001 and August 2002, was credited with leading his country out of a major economic crisis.
In addition to his native Turkish, he speaks fluent English, French, and German.
If approved, he will take over from Briton Mark Malloch Brown, who has been appointed Mr Annan's chief of staff.
Mr Annan said he believed Mr Dervis, who held positions at the World Bank for 22 years, would "make an outstanding administrator" of the UN Development Programme (UNDP)".
"I chose him from an outstanding array of global candidates," he said.
He praised Mr Dervis' practical and intellectual track records in development and international finance, together with a zeal for tackling poverty and managerial skills.
The UNDP's aims include the eradication of extreme poverty and promotion of democratic governance throughout the developing world.
The head of UNDP would be expected to champion the UN's Millennium Development goals, which have a target of halving extreme poverty by 2015.
Mr Malloch Brown said Mr Annan "could not have chosen a person who is more knowledgeable about development than Kemal Dervis".
"I've worked with Kemal on many occasions, and have come to admire him greatly, both for the depth of his understanding of the issues and the strength of his commitment to meeting these challenges," he said.
Before Mr Malloch Brown, all five previous UNDP chiefs had been Americans.