Rama Thirunamachandran, currently deputy vice-chancellor and provost of Keele University, will join Canterbury Christ Church on 1 October.
Peter Hermitage, pro-chancellor and chair of Canterbury Christ Church University’s governing body, said he was delighted with the appointment.
“The challenges facing universities today require leaders who understand how teaching and research are organised and how large resources are effectively managed.
“In Rama we have a person who has a significant track record in these areas, working with academics and other university staff to meet the needs and expectations of students.”
At Keele, Mr Thirunamachandran has overall responsibility for academic activities as well as strategic and operational leadership for academic planning, budgeting and delivery of teaching, research and enterprise.
In his previous role as director for research, innovation and skills at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, he had overall responsibility for the strategic direction of research and knowledge transfer, including the development of the research excellence framework.
Mr Thirunamachandran said: “Canterbury Christ Church University has transformed over the past 50 years into a university with a distinctive mission and emphasis on public and professional service education with a strong focus on the student experience.
“I feel privileged and honoured to be offered the opportunity to lead the university into the next stage of its development.”
Mr Thirunamachandran has previously been a strong critic of government policies that concentrate research funding in large universities.
He has also held posts at the University of Bristol, King’s College London and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Mr Thirunamachandran will take over at Canterbury Christ Church from Andrew Ironside, who has been acting vice-chancellor since the sudden resignation of Robin Baker in October 2012.