Stephen Hughes, 52, is currently interim head of paid service with Birmingham City Council.
A report on the selection process will be presented to the full city council at its next meeting, when a decision will be made.
Alan Rudge, cabinet member for equalities and human resources, who chaired the selection panel, said:
'This is a vital choice for Birmingham City Council. We are confident we have recommended the candidate who we can work with to continue bringing the very best possible services to the people of Birmingham and to maintain and improve the city's status as an international city.'
Mike Whitby, leader of the council, said: 'We are delighted to recommend this candidate from a very strong shortlist. Stephen has all the qualities to be an excellent chief executive for this council.'
Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of the council said: 'Stephen Hughes, over a series of meetings and interviews, showed a grasp and understanding of the challenges of improving service delivery in Birmingham. We look forward to working with him.'
Mr Hughes said: 'I am really delighted to be offered the opportunity to help Birmingham achieve excellence. I look forward to taking up the role permanently and the challenges this will entail. I will work hard with members to ensure that Birmingham achieves the reputation it deserves as a first class international city.'