Pall Gudgerisson, San Clemente's treasurer and assistant city manager, will take the reins as chief executive of the city after George Scarborough retires in March.
The San Clemente City Council offered glowing praise for Gudgerisson before unanimously voting him in.
"I can consistently say that he's innovative, creative and, frankly, I think he's the reason we've made it through the recession the way we did," said Councilwoman Lori Donchak.
Gudgerisson said he hopes to continue where Scarborough will leave off, shepherding projects to completion.
"I'd like to sustain the momentum we have in the city," he said. "I thinks its going to be a great couple years to get some projects completed that are out there and address some that are coming up."