Sir Rick Trainor, who will step down as principal and president of King’s in September 2014, will become rector of Exeter College, Oxford the following month.
He will replace the current rector Frances Cairncross, a former editor of The Economist.
Sir Rick, a former Rhodes scholar at Oxford who later lectured at Balliol College on Victorian social history, said he was looking forward to taking over at Exeter as it celebrates its 700th anniversary.
“I am thrilled and honoured to join Exeter’s students and fellows at such a pivotal point in the college’s history,” he said.
“As Exeter enters its eighth century, it has never been stronger, and I look forward to working with fellows and students alike to build on the college’s major advances of the last decade and accelerate academic excellence.”
Sir Rick, a past president of Universities UK, led the University of Greenwich from 2000 to 2004 before taking charge at King’s.
A dual citizen of the US and the UK, he was knighted in 2010 for services to higher education.
“Throughout his career as a vice-chancellor, scholar, and student Professor Trainor has championed the importance of academic excellence in a community of multi-disciplinary scholarship,” said Ms Cairncross.
“His commitment to excellence in teaching and research, and a passion for student support and welfare will provide the college with strong leadership in a changing and competitive field of international education and scholarship.”