The young one
Mr Rycroft will take over the post, which carries a salary of between Pounds 93,139 and pound;132,586, from Eddie Frizzell, who retires in May.
He brings a wider background and experience than most civil servants to his new post, having been corporate affairs manager with Scottish and Newcastle Breweries and worked in Brussels for the then Trade Commissioner, Sir Leon Brittan.
Nicol Stephen, the Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister, welcomed the appointment of someone with a breadth of experience.
John Elvidge, the head of the Scottish Executive secretariat, also praised Mr Rycroft's calibre.