His appointment comes almost a year after The TES revealed details of predecessor Roger Ward's secret consultancy payments - prompting the AOC inquiry that led to his resignation.
Mr Gibson was not the obvious choice to succeed Roger Ward when the Pounds 100,000 post was advertised in September. Many people expected a political figure, possibly from outside the sector, to take over. But the 58-year-old former teacher, lecturer and youth service manager, who has been principal of City College since 1989 and is a former president of the Association of Principals of Colleges, saw off challenges from five shortlisted candidates. He will takes over from acting chief executive Sue Dutton on February 1 next year.
Jim Scrimshaw, who chairs the AOC board, said: "He was the outstanding candidate from a very talented short-list and he brings great experience of the sector and of national leadership."
In an exclusive interview with The TES this week, Mr Gibson sets out his priorities for improved funding for colleges and students and calls for there to be an end to the current stalemate between employers and unions.