Welsh banking executive David Smith will take charge of the Australian Rugby League Commission following an exhaustive five-month search to replace former CEO David Gallop.
Smith's appointment was officially announced at League Central on Friday morning. He currently holds the role of chief executive of Sydney-based Lloyds International but will quit that post to take up rugby league's top job from February 1, 2013.
Shane Mattiske will continue as the interim ARLC chief executive until Smith is ready to begin. Smith has no known background in the game but played rugby union in his native Wales.
Speaking at a press conference, he admitted he was very excited about taking on the role. He said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to be a part of the rugby league family. I feel a real sense of excitement and duty in taking on the chief executive role at such an exciting point for the game and the NRL.
"It's a chance to make a real difference at a time when rugby league is looking to grow to a new level. The role has everything I could want and I am really looking forward to getting started. I think I have got the best job in Australia. This is a wonderful opportunity. It is an honour and a privilege."
ARLC chairman John Grant made no apologies for the prolonged time-frame to find Gallop's replacement and has no doubt they have found the right man for the job.
"This is a person who knows business, who knows how to lead, who loves sport, who is culturally suited to our game and who has a very strong sense of community," Grant said.
"We've spent a lot of time talking with Dave and I can tell you that we are certain he will do a fantastic job for our game."
While the NRL had pushed hard for AFL number two Gillon McLachlan to take the job before he turned them down, Smith said it wasn't a concern he wasn't the code's first choice for the role.
"This was my first choice," Smith said. "I reached a point in my life where I wanted to be involved in sport in a senior way. I think I have the set of skills that will make a difference. I believe the NRL and the commission is ready for someone like me. I had looked at other sporting opportunities and by far this is the most exciting."