Martin Green, who was executive producer of last month’s opening ceremony of the Tour de France Grand Départ in Leeds, will be moving to Hull to take up his new role as the £130,000-a-year chief executive in October.
His appointment has been described as a major coup by the 2017 team led by former BBC arts correspondent Rosie Millard.
Mr Green was head of ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic Games, recruiting Danny Boyle and the other artistic directors as well as many of the artists, production and back-of-house teams.
Hull beat Dundee, Leicester and Swansea Bay to take the title last November. Early estimates suggest it will receive an £184m economic boost in the five years up to 2020 – £60m in 2017 alone.
Plans for 2017 includes a spectacular aerial show using the tidal barrier in the city, a major digital, sound and light event and the planting of thousands of trees to create “sustainable gateways to the city”.
Mr Green said: “As chief executive, I want to bring together the best local, national and international talent to deliver an inspirational, ambitious artistic programme that will put Hull on the map before, during and after 2017. It is a huge opportunity that I am determined will deliver a lasting legacy for the city.”
Ms Millard said she couldn’t think of anyone better suited to the role.
She said: “We needed someone who had not only run high-profile events on a huge scale, but who also had that rare talent for identifying and conveying the true qualities of a place, the quirks, the strengths, the passions that have developed through generations to give a place its unique character.
“Martin did exactly that for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. He assembled and led a team that turned visions into reality and captured the imagination of the whole world. I can’t think of anyone more suited to doing the same for Hull.”