Former England prop Jason Leonard has been nominated by the Rugby Football Union council to be president in 2015, when England host the World Cup.
Leonard beat John Spencer, the preferred candidate of the RFU's nominations standing committee, by 35 votes to 25 in a secret ballot to become the new junior vice-president.
Bob Reeves is in line to become president next season, with Jonathan Dance the vice president. The formal election for all roles will take place at the RFU's AGM on July 14.
Leonard, 44, is England's most capped international and his election ahead of Spencer, a more experienced rugby administrator, was driven by the RFU's member clubs.
The RFU council also endorsed the appointment of a new independent head of rugby judiciary as part of changes to the disciplinary system.
Twickenham have to comply with recent changes to International Rugby Board regulations to ensure all cases are heard by panels independent of the RFU.
As a result, Judge Jeff Blackett will stand down from his role as the RFU's disciplinary officer at the end of the season after 10 years in the job.
Blackett wants to continue his involvement in rugby by making "a contribution to the governance of the game in some other role".