Graham Duxbury, who has worked for Groundwork for more than 15 years, most recently as its director of development, has got the top job. He started in the charity's corporate communications team.
He has been responsible for forging partnerships with government, the private and public sectors. He will now steer the charity through its next phase as it seeks to achieve its 2015 goals to improve 1,000 spaces, help 100,000 households out of fuel poverty and support 10,000 people into education, training and work.
He said: "Groundwork is entering a new phase in its history that’s full of opportunity but not without its challenges. As demand for our projects and services grows we need to be ever more creative and resourceful to ensure we can deliver.
"We have a clear plan to raise our profile, diversify our income base and forge new strategic partnerships so that we can bring maximum benefits to the communities we serve."
Hawkhead, who started in 1996 after a career in government left to take up a new role at children’s charity Action for Children.
Groundwork chairman Bob Lawson said: "Tony brought a unique combination of passion and pragmatism to Groundwork and, under his guidance, the organisation changed completely while remaining entirely true to its original vision.
"We now have delivery capability in every part of the UK. Our business units are much bigger and stronger, we have partnerships with major corporations and are in the thick of running large-scale government contracts.
"Graham has a wealth of experience and commitment and is the ideal person to build on these achievements."
Duxbury is only Groundwork’s third chief executive since the charity was established on Merseyside in the early 1980s.