The new Solicitor-General who will take personal charge of many major trials in the future is Frank Mulholland, QC, a senior prosecutor at the Crown Office.

Mr Mulholland, 48, is an advocate-depute who, like the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, rose through the ranks of the procurator-fiscal service. Like her, he is a solicitor-advocate, not a traditional member of the Faculty of Advocates, making the team now about to hold the top two government legal posts even more radical.

MSPs will vote to confirm the two officials today. As reported in The Herald yesterday, Ms Angiolini is being retained in the Lord Advocate post by the incoming SNP government, although in future she will not sit in the cabinet in order the emphasise a separation of powers.

Mr Mulholland, from Coatbridge, is being asked to adopt a more hands-on approach as Solicitor-General, taking personal charge of prosecuting major cases in the High Court.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the appointments of the two would ensure a firm focus on the prosecution of crime in Scotland, while they retained their duties in relation to civil and constitutional matters.

"I believe this added clarity on roles and responsibilities will be welcomed by many inside and outside our criminal justice system," he said. "Elish Angiolini and Frank Mulholland have the right mix of experience, ideas, and drive to lead the Crown Office and Procurator-Fiscal Service in meeting those challenges head on."

Mr Mulholland, who is married with one child and lives in Livingston, studied at Aberdeen and Edinburgh universities and became a solicitor-advocate in 1995. The SNP said last night that they believed Mr Mulholland had no political affiliations.

He was appointed as a QC in 2005, one of the first solicitor-advocates doing criminal work to achieve that. The following year he was awarded a diploma in trial skills at Harvard University.

He first became a fiscal in Greenock in 1984 and worked in Glasgow and Edinburgh before joining the Crown Office doing High Court work, prosecuting high-profile cases, such as the Craig MacDonald murder in Wishaw in 1996 and the Imran Khan murder in Shawlands two years later.

He returned to the fiscal service in Edinburgh before returning to the Crown Office as the first serving member of the fiscal service to be made a senior advocate-depute. He led the prosecution of Transco following the Larkhall gas explosion in 1999 and represented the Crown in the Campbell and Steele "ice cream wars" appeals.