OTTAWA - Wayne Wouters, a career bureaucrat who has held senior posts in three federal departments, has been named clerk of the Privy Council, effective July 1.

The clerk is the head of the federal public service and the prime minister's main connection to the bureaucracy.

Wouters replaces Kevin Lynch, who has held the job since 2006.

The new clerk, who began his career in the Saskatchewan civil service, had been serving as secretary of the Treasury Board.

The 58-year-old is an economist with a master's degree from Queen's University.

In making the announcement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he's looking forward to working with Wouters

"I am confident that his knowledge and experience will provide the dedication and excellence of service that is a hallmark of the public service and the office of the clerk."

Lynch, also 58, is a former deputy finance minister who also worked at the International Monetary Fund before taking the clerk's job. He holds a doctorate in economics from McMaster University.

Harper praised Lynch, who began his 30-year career as an economist with the Bank of Canada.

"His long service as a distinguished public servant has earned him respect both nationally and internationally," Harper said.

In an unusual move, Harper said Lynch will be sworn in as a member of the Privy Council before his retirement.

Lifetime membership in the Privy Council is automatic for cabinet ministers, but is also occasionally extended to other distinguished Canadians at the prime minister's discretion.