Greater Manchester's police and crime commissioner Tony Lloyd has been selected as the region's interim mayor.
The former Labour MP was chosen over Wigan Council leader Peter Smith by a panel representing the area's councils.
Mr Lloyd will take up the role in June until 2017, when the public will vote for the region's first elected mayor.
Chancellor George Osborne announced plans for an elected mayor last year as part of a project to hand more devolved power to the north.
Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester after the result was announced, Mr Lloyd spoke of "great challenges" for the region.
But he said they were challenges he was "relishing".
"What is important is that we concentrate on what the priorities are for the people of Greater Manchester," he said.
"We are building the capacity to build on health care and social care. It's about building our economy."
Mr Lloyd will continue with his responsibilities as police and crime commissioner (PCC) for now, with that position expected to be incorporated into the mayoral role after 2017.
He said it would be "ludicrous" if the two positions were not combined.
However, Mr Lloyd would not be drawn on whether he would stand for mayor in the 2017 election, saying it was "too far off".
But he added: "Let's see how the boots fit. We will give it a go and see how it works out."
Analysis: Cheshire political reporter Phil McCann
We waited and waited at Leigh Sports Village for the conclave of Greater Manchester councillors to make their decision.
Without a chimney for papal selection style coloured smoke to emanate from, it was left to the leader of Manchester City Council, Richard Leese, to announce the victor.
He explained that it took a few hours more than it was supposed to because the decision was so difficult.
With two long-serving Greater Manchester Labour politicians in the running, it was perhaps easy to see why. For Tony Lloyd to have got the job is perhaps fortuitous - because his current role of police and crime commissioner will be subsumed into the mayoral role in 2017 anyway.
But until then he has been quick to point out that he won't be taking both salaries.