The man in charge of Kent's education services is to become leader of the county council when Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart steps down next week.
Paul Carter is to be the new leader of Kent County Council
Building firm boss Paul Carter, cabinet member for education, was nominated for the job by the council's controlling Conservative group.
The appointment will be put forward for confirmation at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday.
Sir Sandy, 63, will remain as a county councillor after eight years as leader.
He will also continue as chairman of the Local Government Association and a member of the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA).
Cllr Carter said he would build on the "phenomenal success" of the past eight years when Sir Sandy had flown the flag for Kent.
"We now face some major challenges for which we will find solutions," he said.
"Setting council tax that will be affordable to the electorate of our county is going to be a major issue while continuing with the improvement of services."
He told BBC Radio Kent he did not believe his business interests in the construction industry would conflict with leading the council.
Quality of life
SEERA is currently consulting on proposals to build 6,100 new homes a year in Kent.
"Protecting the countryside in Kent was in my manifesto and is close to my heart, whatever the imposition by national government of housing numbers," he said.
"We have got to make sure that we put the new houses in the very best locations that don't disrupt people's quality of life and, if possible, actually regenerate areas that can do with development and investment."
Sir Sandy, who has been Conservative leader for 12 years, said: "Paul will be an immensely able leader who will take Kent County Council and Kent forward.
"I have every confidence in him and the future."