ASTANA -- Kazakh lawmakers have unanimously approved Serik Akhmetov as the country's new prime minister.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev immediately signed the appointment decree on September 24.
Nazarbaev nominated Akhmetov, who had served as first deputy prime minister since January, for the post after long-serving Prime Minister Karim Masimov and his cabinet resigned earlier in the day.
Akhmetov, a 54-year-old engineer by training, is from Nazarbaev's native Qaraghandy region and reportedly worked in the same factory where Nazarbaev once worked.
He has previously worked in the presidential administration, served as transportation and communications minister, and was head of the Qaraghandy region from November 2009 until January 2012.
Akhmetov was also once the chairman of Kazakhstan's Ata-Meken Union of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen.
Akhmetov has 10 days to form a government.
Masimov was named by Nazarbaev to head the presidential administration, a step seen as a promotion since it moves Masimov closer to the president.
Masimov was Kazakhstan's seventh and longest-serving prime minister, occupying that post since January 2007.
Masimov's tenure is viewed as a time of great economic success in Kazakhstan although this was partly due to the sudden increase in the price of oil, natural gas in recent years.
This has driven Kazakhstan's economic growth and led to a significant improvement in the standard of living.
Masimov's resignation on September 24 was not a surprise since close presidential aide Yermukhamet Yertysbaev had mentioned Masimov's name on September 21 when an announcement was made that Aslan Musin was leaving the post of presidential administration head.
Nazarbaev also stopped by the central headquarters for his ruling Nur-Otan political party and introduced staff to the new first deputy chairman of the party, Bakytzhan Sagintaev, who is also currently the acting minister of economic development and trade.
With reporting by centrasia.ru, Interfax, Reuters, and ITAR-TASS