Osama Bin Laden's caretaker replacement Egyptian Saif Al Adel is Al Qaeda's interim operational leader before the expected permanent appointment of deputy chief Ayman al-Zawahri.
News of his appointment comes from Bin Laden's former associate Noman Benotman, who is now an analyst with Britain's Quilliam Foundation think tank.
There are delays because it is taking time to obtain pledges of loyalty to Al-Zawahri from the far flung affiliates and branches of Al Qaeda, Mr Benotman said.
‘This role that he has assumed is not as overall leader, but he is in charge in operational and military terms,' said Mr Benotman, who has spoken to jihad contacts.
‘This has happened in response to the impatience displayed by jihadists online who have been extremely worried about the delay in announcing a successor. ‘It is hoped that now they will calm down. It also paves the way for Zawahri to take over.'
Al-Adel's name means 'sword of justice' in Arabic and he is believed to have opposed 9/11 because it was too provocative and likely to cause a devastating U.S. response.
He helped to plan the bomb attacks against American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 and set up training camps in the 1990s, U.S. prosecutors say.
‘This has happened in response to the impatience displayed by jihadists online who have been extremely worried about the delay in announcing a successor. It is hoped that now they will calm down. It also paves the way for Zawahri to take over'
He had a role ‘akin to chief of staff' even before Bin Laden's death in a U.S. raid on his compound in Pakistan earlier this month, Mr Benotman said.
Al-Adel was believed to have fled to Iran after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, and was reportedly subsequently held under a form of house arrest there.
Iranian authorities then released him from custody about a year ago and he moved back to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, local reports said.
Al-Adel is believed to have been in remote areas of northern Pakistan over the past year but is thought to have since returned to Iran or Afghanistan in recent weeks.
Five other candidates who had emerged for Al Qaeda leadership were Abu Yahya al-Libi, Anwar Al-Awlaki, Saad Bin Laden, Nasser Al-Wahayshi and Ilyas Kashmir.