Network Rail said former Shell executive Mark Carne would succeed Sir David Higgins and will take over on April 1 next year, as chief executive.
The company said father-of-three Mr Carne would be on a basic annual salary of £675,000, £100,000 more than his predecessor.
Network Rail has faced constant criticism recently over train punctuality, with repeated warnings by rail regulators about its performance, particularly on long-distance routes.
Mr Carne's base salary of £675,000 was determined following an exhaustive and independent process which compared the salaries of chief executives in both the public and private sectors given Network Rail's unique position as a not-for-dividend, independent company.
The review concluded that the proposed salary reflected that unique status placing, as it does, the chief executive's salary at a point between the two sectors.
Mr Carne will not take any potential annual incentive payment for 2013/14.
More top news
Last minute suspension of strike action has meant thousands of cancelled procedures will still not go ahead.
Children in the North and the Midlands are less likely to get a good secondary education than those in the South, schools inspector to say.
Mild in the south but colder in the north tonight and turning frosty and icy - before rain moves in.