Sir Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, has been widely tipped to be appointed as the next chief inspector at Ofsted.
But in an exclusive interview, he told TES that while it was "an honour" to be seen as a frontrunner, he does not feel now is the right time to leave his academy chain.
Sir Daniel said he would "never say never" to taking the helm of the inspectorate, currently led by Sir Michael Wilshaw, who is stepping down in December.
He is one of a string of education figures linked to the top job. They have included high-profile Americans such as Doug Lemov, who have long since ruled themselves out of the running.
Asked if he wanted to lead Ofsted, Sir Daniel said: "No. It is an honour that people mention my name, but nobody who has mentioned it has ever asked me.
“I will never say never, but we have got significant change coming through at GCSE and A level and there is retrenchment in budgets – I don’t feel now would be a great time for me to move on from Harris. Who knows in the future, but this time around it is not for me.”
In his first full sit down interview, the chief executive talks about his near £400,000 salary, the chain's expansion plans, his desire to raise standards for all children and gives some of the secrets of Harris' success.
This is an edited version of an article in the 1 April edition of TES. Subscribers can view the full article here. This week's TES magazine is available at all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here