David Rutherford has been appointed as the chief commissioner of the Human Rights Commission.
He replaces Rosslyn Noonan, who is completing her second five-year term.
Mr Rutherford, who is a sports and commercial lawyer, was the chief executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union from 1999 - 2002.
For the past six years he has been involved with the Special Olympics.
Mr Rutherford will take up his role on 1 September.