Birmingham's acting chief executive Stephen Hughes is set to be given the biggest job in local government on a permanent basis.
Mr Hughes has been interim chief executive at Birmingham City Council since last June but is almost certain to fill the #175,000 role permanently.
The former strategic director of resources said he will ensure Birmingham "achieves the reputation it deserves as a first class international city" if he is appointed.
He received endorsements from senior councillors after emerging as the preferred candidate at the end of a two-day selection process.
His appointment will be recommended to the next full council meeting. A date for the meeting has not yet been announced.
The salary is expected to be #175,000 with an annual #20,000 performance-related award if a list of agreed targets is met.
The 52-year-old's predecessor, Lin Homer, left the largest local authority in the UK last August to join the Home Office.
Mr Hughes said: " I am really delighted to be offered the opportunity to help Birmingham achieve excellence. I look forward to taking up the role permanently and the challenges this will entail.
"I will work hard with members to ensure that Birmingham achieves the reputation it deserves as a first class international city."
Mr Hughes is a qualified accountant with a University of Cambridge degree in economics.
He began his career in the public sector in 1979 when he worked as an economist in the finance department at Coventry City Council.
Since then, he has been deputy secretary of the Association of London Authorities and director of finance at the London Borough of Brent. He joined Birmingham City Council in February 2004 as strategic director of resources.