Julia Hodson, a 51-year-old winner of the Queen's Police Medal, is to be Nottinghamshire's new chief constable.
Ms Hodson has served in Lancashire and West Yorkshire
She will become the first woman to head the force when she takes over from Steve Green, who retires in June.
Ms Hodson, deputy chief constable of West Yorkshire, was also Assistant Chief Constable in Lancashire.
Mr Green dealt with high-profile gun crime, gangland killings and the murder of 14-year-old Danielle Beccan during his tenure.
Nottinghamshire Police Authority said her wide experience will make Ms Hodson "a worthy successor".
'Thrilled to bits'
Ms Hodson was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in the 2008 New Year's Honours List for services to policing.
She said: "I am thrilled to bits to have been appointed to succeed Steve Green in June and I'm looking forward to returning to Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands."
Ms Hodson is the daughter of a coal miner from Derbyshire who studied at the Institute of Legal Executives at Arnold and Carlton College in Nottinghamshire.
"All my professional experience to date will help me to lead the force and work in partnership with the police authority to continue the improvements that have already begun, showing that crime is coming down and satisfaction is going up," she said.
In 2005, Mr Green reportedly infuriated the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke by saying the Government's obsession with form filling meant he had to consider "farming out" murder investigations to other forces.
The Home Office later drafted in an outside specialist to work alongside Mr Green to help him sort out his force's alleged failings in tackling serious crime.
Mr Green has said huge changes had to be made in the force to deal with gun crime in Nottingham.