Tom Karsten has been named as the new chief executive of marine science agency the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).
Karsten – who is leaving the Royal Navy in September to take up the post – will succeed Mike Waldock, who steps down in July after three years in the job.
Cefas provides marine science research capability to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as offering its services to the private sector.
Karsten's naval career includes two years as commanding officer on HMS Endurance and two as commander of British forces on Gibraltar. In his most recent role, Karsten served as deputy CEO of the UK Hydrographic Office.
Betsy Bassis – the Defra chief operating officer who led the recruitment process – said she was "delighted" to name Karsten for the top job.
"Tom brings with him a wealth of operational and commercial experience that will be critical in delivering Cefas’ strategic growth plans," she said.
"The Cefas Board and I look forward to welcoming Tom in September."
Karsten said he was "looking forward to the opportunity to grow Cefas’ business both in UK and overseas" as well as "raising its profile as the UK’s leading marine science agency".
Cefas currently employs more than 500 staff across sites in Lowestoft, Weymouth, Whitehaven and Scarborough. The agency also has a presence in Kuwait.