The Canal & River Trust has appointed Richard Parry, a senior director at the transport company First Group, as its new chief executive.
The CRT, which manages 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales, moved from the public sector to become an independent charity in July. It has an income of about £200m a year and a £460m property portfolio.
Robin Evans, chief executive of the organisation formerly known as British Waterways for the past 10 years, announced in January that he would be standing down this month.
Parry, who is 46, will take up his post in the summer, but a final date has not yet been set. He has been in his current role for two years and before that spent 19 years at London Underground and Transport for London.
He will be paid £175,000, less than the £195,000 Evans earned at the point he left. Evans had already taken a pay cut from more than £230,000 when his organisation left the public sector.
Parry is a trustee of People 1st, a registered charity that is also the sector skills council for the hospitality industry.
Tony Hales, chair of the Canal & River Trust, said: "Richard has fantastic experience of managing complex infrastructure – something that is crucial for our network of lock flights, embankments, soaring aqueducts and other engineering feats of the industrial age.
"He has a strong record of leading organisations through change and recognises the importance of growing the engagement with the boaters, anglers and millions of others in the community who use and enjoy our wonderful waterways."