Payne has been running the team charged by the Ministry of Justice with managing offenders across south-east England since 2004. She will start her new role in November.
She replaces Deborah Annetts, who left after less than three months in charge after a dispute with the board (7 November 2007, page 1).
Annetts filed a case at an employment tribunal after her departure, but this was withdrawn when an agreement was reached (Third Sector, 27 February).
Shan Nicholas, former chief executive at Princess Royal Trust for Carers, has been covering the position since November.