The woman who undertook a major review of the GCSB spy agency, Rebecca Kitteridge, is to become the new director of the Security Intelligence Service.
Since 2008 she has been Secretary of the Cabinet, a non-political role advising the Prime Minster and Cabinet on proper process.
She has also been Clerk of the Executive Council, giving advice to the Governor-General on constitutional issues.
Prime Minister John Key assigned her to undertake a major compliance review of the Government Communications Security Bureau after it emerged that it had been unlawfully spying on internet magnate Kim Dotcom.
It was a damning review and many of her findings resulted in reforms passed in a controversial bill this year.
Her report on the GCSB was leaked and United Future Peter Dunne was forced to resign as a minister for failing to co-operate with the inquiry into the leak.
Ms Kitteridge will be responsible to the Mr Key who is the minister responsible for both the GCSB and SIS.
Mr Key said today Ms Kitteridge was a highly respected and professional public servant with experience in senior roles.
"She will bring strong leadership skills, excellent relationship management skills and highly collaborative approach to the role of Direct of Security.''
She spent four years in the legal division of Foreign Affairs and Trade, four years as Crown Counsel on secondment to the Cabinet Office, and nine years as a lawyer in the private sector.
She will replace the current director, Warren Tucker, at the end of April next year. Dr Tucker was first appointed in 2006.
Ms Kitteridge's term is for five years.