Mark Cooper's short-term deal as manager of League Two Notts County will become permanent if he hits a points total agreed with the club's owner.
The former Swindon boss, who succeeds Jamie Fullarton, has initially been appointed until the end of the season and takes over with the team 19th.
"Should he get things moving in the right direction his deal will become permanent," said owner Ray Trew.
County are on 40 points, 13 above the relegation zone with 10 games left.
Fullarton was sacked after winning three of 12 games in 70 days as boss.
Cooper, 47, has been out of work since leaving League One side Swindon in October, just five months after they lost the play-off final at Wembley.
Trew has appointed Cooper despite agreeing to sell the Magpies to an American company less than 48 hours earlier.
"What we need now, as a club, is stability, as we look to resolve the change of ownership and that is why I have turned to Mark to bring his experience and knowledge to the club to help turn things around on the pitch," Trew told the club website.
"To be fair to Mark and to reward him, I have agreed a points total with him, which will remain confidential, at which point his deal will become permanent."
Cooper's first game in charge will be away to promotion-chasing Portsmouth, with a home game against Wycombe Wanderers following three days later when the new boss has the chance to end a seven-game winless run at Meadow Lane dating back to 12 December.