Michael Cassel is leaving his position running the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation to head up the state government's social housing portfolio in NSW.
HCCDC chief operating officer Valentina Misevska, a former lawyer and University of Newcastle graduate, will take over from Mr Cassel as acting chief executive from September 30.
Mr Cassel led the government's Revitalising Newcastle program from 2014, took over as Hunter Development Corporation boss in 2016 and oversaw its annexing of the Central Coast last year.
The government credited the former Mission Australia Housing boss with delivering the tram "on time and on budget", in stark contrast to the time and cost blowouts of Sydney's light rail project.
Mr Cassel has been appointed chief executive of the Land and Housing Corporation, which employs more than 500 staff in the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The corporation owns and manages 130,000 properties, including land, buildings and other assets worth more than $35 billion.
Mr Cassel will be based in Sydney and oversee the government's $22 billion Communities Plus plan, which aims to increase the stock of social housing by 23,000 in 10 years through contracts with non-government and private sector partners.
The program, launched in 2015, has conducted three rounds of land releases but has been slow to turn that activity into bricks and mortar.
Mr Cassel's new appointment comes barely months after his duties expanded to include deputy secretary for development and transactions in the housing and property cluster of DPIE. That role included controlling part of Property NSW.
A government spokesperson said Ms Misevska, a Newcastle local, had been an "integral part" of HCCDC for 11 years.
"Valentina's leadership will see HCCDC continue to deliver government projects, including the Revitalising Newcastle program, and the ongoing transformation of Honeysuckle," the spokesperson said.
"Michael leaves a strong legacy for the people of Newcastle, with the significant, city-changing delivery of the Revitalising Newcastle program.
"He has spent five years as a passionate advocate for the region, and he looks forward to watching HCCDC continue to thrive under Valentina's leadership."
The development corporation, which traces its origins back to 1992, is still selling government land at Honeysuckle.