Nancy McKay, a defeated Tory candidate in Bathurst, has been named Premier-designate David Alward's new chief of staff. ((CBC))

Premier-designate David Alward has tapped three-time defeated Bathurst Tory candidate Nancy McKay to be his chief of staff.

Alward announced the important appointment on Friday afternoon as the transition process continued to roll out in Fredericton.

"Nancy possesses excellent skills and professional experience and I am happy that she has agreed to take on this integral role within a new Progressive Conservative government," Alward in a statement.

On Thursday, the Alward Tories announced the five-member transition team that included Dennis Cochrane, the president of St. Thomas University and former PC Party leader.

McKay most recently served as the chief operating officer of the IAAF world junior track championships in Moncton.

She is also the owner of Management Dimensions Inc. and has been a physiotherapist and management consultant for 35 years.

McKay lost another tight race on Sept. 27 in the northern riding and earlier in the week had requested a review of her 75-vote defeat. There is no indication if McKay has halted the northern recount.

"I am happy to take on this challenging role within the Premier's Office. I have worked with levels of government and within my community for many years and am excited to take on this new role," McKay said in a statement.

Top advisor

The premier's chief of staff is a key position that acts as a conduit between the political arm of the premier's office and the civil service.

Bernard Theriault, a former Liberal MLA from the northeastern riding of Caraquet, was outgoing Premier Shawn Graham's chief of staff for his entire mandate.

Former premier Bernard Lord went through several chiefs of staff during his seven years.

Lord selected Barbara Winsor as a chief of staff, who was replaced by Hermel Vienneau, a member of Alward's transition team.

Lord's final chief of staff in his first mandate was David McLaughlin, an influential Tory who was known as a policy expert.

Rodney Weston, the current Saint John MP, served as Lord's top advisor for the entire second mandate.