The Government is set to announce the appointment of Sir William Stubbs as chairman of the new Qualifications and Curriculum Authority - effectively the successor to Sir Ron Dearing.
He will be joined as deputy chairman by Dominic Cadbury, chairman of Cadbury Schweppes and chairman of education and training at the CBI.
The QCA is due to start work in October when it takes over from the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the National Council for Vocational Qualifications - bringing the academic and vocational systems under one organisation. Dr Nicholas Tate has already been appointed as chief executive.
Sir William, was chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council until last year when he became director of the London Institute, a prestigious amalgam of London art schools.
During his time at the FEFC Sir William, a former chief executive of the Inner London Education Authority, acquired a reputation as a hard-nosed and highly effective negotiator. He is credited with having persuaded the last government to adopt an expansion-based funding system for further education.
It is understood that his appointment was delayed while civil servants looked for an industrialist to fill the deputy's post. This has proved difficult as most successful business people have scant free time and little detailed knowledge of schools or colleges.