London - Nathan Jones's impressive record at third-tier Luton Town earned him a step up the managerial ladder on Wednesday as Championship side Stoke City named him successor to the sacked Gary Rowett.
The 45-year-old Welshman has since taking over in 2016 transformed Luton from a side flirting with relegation from League Two to promotion to League One and are challenging for further promotion to The Championship.
Jones, who enjoyed a nomadic playing career taking him from Merthyr Tydfil to Spanish side Badajoz and Yeovil Town, became the front-runner when former Fulham handler Slavisa Jokanovic said he was not interested and it was thought unlikely David Moyes would wish to manage a second-tier team.
Stoke will pay Luton compensation, reported to be £1 million, as Jones signed a new four-year contract a year ago.
"Nathan Jones is the new manager of Stoke City, the club are delighted to confirm," Stoke announced on their offical website.
Jones - who played with Stoke's technical director Mark Cartwright at Brighton - impressed both club chairman Peter Coates and vice-chairman John Coates.
"We have been following Nathan's career for some time and when we met him were hugely impressed with his clear vision as to how he will achieve success at Stoke," they said in a statement.
Jones' task is to reboot Stoke's battle for an immediate return to the Premier League which has failed to materialise despite Rowett being allowed to spend heavily in the close season.
Rowett was sacked on Tuesday with the club lying eight points adrift of the play-off places and 14 shy of Norwich, who occupy the second and last automatic promotion spot.