An Australian is to lead the Assembly government's new education and lifelong learning department.
Father-of-three Steve Marshall, currently chief executive officer of South Australia's education and children's services department, will take over from present director Richard Davies, who is moving to another senior government post in the new year.
Education and lifelong learning minister Jane Davidson said: "We are ambitious about our education policies being world class. I am delighted to have attracted a world-class applicant to this post."
Mr Marshall, who is researching a PhD on turning around low-performing schools, said: "I look forward to moving to Wales and becoming part of a progressive team, to be part of this reform of education in Wales and to make a difference to children, students and the community at large."
He is expected to take up his post well before April 1, when the current department for education and training merges with ELWa, the post-16 education funding agency, and ACCAC, the Welsh qualifications and curriculum authority.
Sheila Drury, chair of ELWa, said: "We have appointed an innovative thinker with an understanding of the issues, and ideas on how we might tackle them."