The county council has offered Gill Steward the opportunity to succeed Katherine Fairclough, subject to formal agreement at its next full council meeting in June.
Once agreed by full council, Steward will take over from Fairclough, who is to move into the same role at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority after four years in the Cumbria hotseat. Steward is expected to start her new role in early August.
Currently chair of CLES, a local economies-focused think tank, Steward’s recent roles include chief executive for the London Borough of Bexley and interim chief executive at West Sussex County Council.
Steward has a background in economic development, place and community services and was part of the executive team at Cornwall Council that took Cornwall successfully through the unitary process.
She said: “I am looking forward to building on its very successful reputation and the fantastic work of Katherine.
“This is a critical time for Cumbria – the challenges of recovery and local government reorganisation are significant, but Cumbria has a huge opportunity not only to recover but to build a better place and future for the people of Cumbria.”
Cllr Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council and leader of the local authority’s Labour Group, said: “I am looking forward to working closely with Gill. She brings with her the perfect range of skills, experience and leadership that we need now and for the future.”