The former No. 2 man at the Puget Sound Partnership took over as the state agency's acting executive director Wednesday.
Gov. Chris Gregoire asked Gerry OKeefe to fill the position temporarily while she searches for a permanent agency head.
David Dicks, who formerly ran the Partnership, stepped down effective Dec. 1, to take a job at the University of Washingtons College of the Environment.
O'Keefe, 48, had been deputy director of the Partnership since March 29 this year. He previously worked for the Grant County Public Utility District and the state Department of Ecology.
The Partnership is assigned the task of restoring the health of Puget Sound by 2020.