Businessman Ed Warner has been named as the inaugural chairman of UK Athletics.
Warner is an amateur runner but has a business background
Warner, 43, has a background working as a funds manager in the City and is a contributor on Radio 4's business news.
His first task in the part-time non-executive chairman's role will be to find a successor to outgoing UKA chief executive Dave Moorcroft.
UKA turned to Warner after big names like Lord Coe, Brendan Foster, Steve Cram and Dave Bedford ruled themselves out of the key positions.
I am very aware of the need to continue the modernisation of the sport
"I am hugely excited by the challenge of leading the sport of athletics through to 2012 and beyond," said Warner.
"I am also very aware of the need to continue the modernisation of the sport started by Dave Moorcroft.
"He has done a tremendous job in bringing together our sport and that's something I'm keen to build on."
Warner does not have a background in elite athletics but is a keen amateur runner as a member of Fittleworth Flyers running club in Sussex.
He added: "None of my achievements in our sport allows me to stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain's leading athletes.
"But I believe that they give me some insight into their motivations and the commitment necessary for them to achieve excellence in their chosen fields."
606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on Warner's appointment
Moorcroft's decision to quit as chief executive last August after nine years in charge prompted UK Athletics into a major restructure.
It is the first time the organisation has appointed a chairman, a part-time post that was advertised as involving just 20 days a year but in reality is likely to involve greater commitment.
Warner's new role at UKA will be equivalent to the chairman of a public company.
His responsibilities have been outlined as leading the UKA board, working closely with the chief executive and developing the organisation's "vision".
"Ed was by far and away the outstanding candidate for the new post of Chairman of UKA," said UKA non-executive director John Taylor.
"He is a leader with a track record of success. He makes things happen, he is a winner in business and will help provide real leadership to the sport."
Warner will take up his post with immediate effect while an announcement on Moorcroft's successor is likely to be made before the end of the month.
"We are at an advanced stage of the recruitment process for a new chief executive for UKA," Warner revealed.
"We have had some outstanding applicants for the post and I am confident that we will be in a position to announce Dave's successor in the coming weeks."