Bank note printer De La Rue, facing a bid approach, has named Tim Cobbold as chief executive from 1 January 2011.
Mr Cobbold is currently boss of power systems group Chloride, which has just been taken over by Emerson Electric.
His first job will be to restore shareholder confidence at the troubled company and tackle bid interest from French rival Oberthur, analysts say.
De La Rue saw its shares tumble after production problems and the resignation of former chief James Hussey.
The company issued a profits warning and said it was unclear whether a major customer would renew its printing contract.
De La Rue's shares had tumbled more than 35% this year, but rallied strongly after Oberthur offered £895m for the company last week. The bid was rejected as "highly opportunistic".
De La Rue's chairman, Nicholas Brookes, said that Mr Cobbold's wealth of experience - he has also worked for Smiths Group - "at the most senior level will be invaluable to De La Rue".
The company's shares were trading up 0.5% at 839p after the announcement.