President Yoon Suk-yeol appointed Kim Kyou-hyun, a former deputy national security adviser and career diplomat, as his first spy chief Friday.
Yoon presented Kim with a letter of appointment a day after the National Assembly approved him as director of the National Intelligence Service.
Kim takes over at a time when tensions run high in the wake of a series of weapons tests by North Korea.
During his confirmation hearing Wednesday, the director vowed to reinforce the country's intelligence capabilities with regard to North Korea while voicing skepticism about Pyongyang's will to denuclearize.
Kim entered the foreign service in 1980 and worked in various posts dealing with the United States before being appointed first vice foreign minister under then President Park Geun-hye.
He later served as first deputy national security adviser, and then doubled as senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and second deputy national security adviser during the same administration. (Yonhap)