Mr Garlick will be responsible for 22,000 staff
A new chief executive has been chosen for the unitary council being created in County Durham.
George Garlick, currently chief executive of Stockton Borough Council, will take up the post - with a reported salary of £200,000 - in September.
Seven district councils and the county council are set to be replaced by the single body in April 2009.
The 52-year-old will be responsible for the new authority's £1bn a year budget and 22,000 staff.
Mr Garlick has up to 25-years of local government experience, which has included spells in senior positions with councils in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humberside.
He said: "I am absolutely delighted to be offered this post.
"My experience in Stockton has shown how unitary local government can transform an area and radically improve the quality of council services."
Durham's district councils are Chester-le-Street, Derwentside, Easington, Sedgefield, Teesdale, Wear Valley and Durham City.