Watford have appointed Leeds coach Adrian Boothroyd as their new manager.
Watford are battling to keep Championship football at Vicarage Road
The 34-year-old has landed a 12-month rolling contract and replaces Ray Lewington, who was sacked after a poor run left the club close to the drop.
Watford chairman Graham Simpson said: "The board were unanimous in recognising Adrian's potential to become a great new, young manager."
Experienced Keith Burkinshaw, the former Tottenham and West Brom boss, has been named Boothroyd's number two.
Boothroyd, who has included Hornets former joint stand-in boss Nigel Gibbs and reserve team manager David Hockaday in his back-room staff, said: "I've been working for this moment for a long time.
"I'm absolutely delighted - I have fallen on my feet.
"I have seen Watford play four or five times this season and I know there are some good players at this club who I look forward to working with.
"I have come into management to make a difference. I believe I can keep Watford in the Championship and then move the club forward."
When the Hornets sacked Lewington on 22 March, his former assistants Gibbs and Terry Bullivant were put in temporary charge and Simpson promised that the club would appoint a "young, progressive manager".
And the chairman insists that Boothroyd, whose playing career was cut short by injury at 26, fits the bill.
"His knowledge of the game, understanding of players and tactical judgement shone through during our discussions - leaving the board in no doubt as to who they felt was the best man to take the club forward," Simpson said.
Boothroyd, who inherits a team in 15th place and only four points away from relegation, is widely regarded as one of the best young coaches in the game, having held positions with Peterborough, Norwich, West Brom and Leeds.
Born: 8 February, 1971 in Bradford
Playing career: Huddersfield Town, Bristol Rovers, Hearts Mansfield Town, Peterborough United (forced to retire through injury aged 26)
Coaching career: 1998: Peterborough (Youth then reserve team coach); 2001: Norwich City (Youth team coach); Nov 2003: West Brom (Academy director/technical director); July 2004: Leeds United (First team coach)
Managerial career: March 2005: Watford
He was involved in Peterborough's academy before becoming youth team coach at Carrow Road in 2001.
Gary Megson took Boothroyd with him in 2003 when he joined West Brom and where the latter became youth development manager.
The offer to join Kevin Blackwell's coaching staff at Elland Road proved irresistible last summer but the Watford job, and the chance to enter management at a young age, was similarly hard to refuse.
Boothroyd has departed Elland Road with the blessing of manager Kevin Blackwell.
He said: "I would never stand in Adrian's way when it comes to taking up a managerial vacancy.
"He has been a very valuable member of the coaching staff and we will all miss the experience he brought to his job and his jovial character."
Boothroyd possesses a Uefa 'A' coaching certificate and has recently been studying a Professional Footballers' Association management course at Warwick University.
Burkinshaw said he was "excited" at the prospect of working with such a highly-rated talent.
"When I first came into management I didn't have someone alongside me to help. I hope my experience will be of benefit both to Adrian and Watford."
Yeovil boss Gary Johnson, Swindon assistant manager Mick Harford and Millwall boss Dennis Wise had all been linked with the Watford vacancy.