Stella Hall, creative director of NewcastleGateshead Initiative since 1995, has been named festival director of Preston Guild, which takes place in 2012.
The Guild tradition dates back over 900 years to the formation of a Guild in Preston which helped with the sale and trade of goods. The last Guild was in 1992.
Making the appointment, Preston City Council and the North West Development Agency cited Halls work in developing major festivals, concerts and events across the North East.
Her previous appointments include founder of the Green Room in Manchester, an organisation that helped to develop UK and international touring theatre, dance and music events. She is a former director of the Merseyside Festival of Comedy and director of the Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry.
Hall said: "I'm thrilled and can't wait to get started. Preston is a great city and Preston Guild is a wonderful celebration and tradition. I am really looking forward to extending the reach of the Guild throughout the year and working with local people, businesses and community groups to develop a fantastic Guild programme for Preston. This is a tremendous opportunity and I hope the 2012 Guild will really help to raise Preston's profile both nationally and internationally."