Michael Lynch, chief exective of the Sydney Opera House, is to lead the revamp of London's South Bank Centre.
He said today he was thrilled with the challenge of leading "potentially the world's greatest arts centre."
Lord Hollick, chairman of South Bank Centre said: "He is just the man for the job."
Last year Lynch was awarded the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to arts administration.
He said: "I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead SBC in the next crucial stage of its development.
"The Royal Festival Hall was the inspiration for the Sydney Opera House.
"I look forward to working with the South Bank team – we have exciting challenges ahead."
Arts Minister Tessa Blackstone said: "This appointment is excellent news.
"The South Bank Centre is still one of the main focal points for the arts in London.
"But its redevelopment is essential if it is to retain its world-wide reputation for artistic excellence."