Preston have appointed former Leeds and Cardiff chairman Peter Ridsdale as their new chairman of football.
North End have been without a chairman since Maurice Lindsay stepped down last Thursday due to ill health.
Owner Trevor Hemmings was expected to make the new appointment from within his personal business empire, making Ridsdale’s arrival at Preston - currently 14th in League One under manager Phil Brown - something of a shock.
Ridsdale moves to Deepdale from Plymouth Argyle, where as acting chairman he oversaw James Brent’s takeover of the stricken npower League Two club.
The 59-year-old, who enjoyed a brief period at Barnsley, is best remembered for his time with Leeds from 1997 to 2003, when a lavish transfer policy led the Yorkshire club to the semi-finals of the Champions League before a dramatic slide in fortunes and relegation from the top flight.
In a statement released by Preston, Ridsdale said: “I am delighted and privileged to be joining Preston North End Football Club.
“Preston North End is a football club that has an incredible football heritage, a large and loyal supporter base and a club that frankly ought to be competing to join the Premier League rather than playing in League One.
“I sincerely hope that working with Preston North End’s existing staff and with the continued support of its fan base, I can play a part in ensuring that we return to the Championship as a minimum in the not too distant future.”