New Zealand legend Brendon McCullum has been appointed England's Test head coach.

The 40-year-old was confirmed on Thursday as Chris Silverwood's successor and will take up his first coaching role at international level.

Former Black Caps captain McCullum had been considered a strong candidate to coach England's white-ball teams, having been employed by Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders and Caribbean Premier League team Trinbago Knight Riders.

Rob Key decided to bring in separate Test and white-ball head coaches after he was appointed as managing director of England men's cricket last month.

Key led the interviews for both roles this week, and it is former wicketkeeper-batter McCullum who has been given the opportunity to turn England's fortunes around in the longest format under new skipper Ben Stokes.

McCullum said: "I'd like to say how pleased I am to be given this opportunity to positively contribute to England's Test cricket set-up and move the team forward into a more successful era.

"In taking this role on, I am acutely aware of the significant challenges the team faces at present, and I strongly believe in my ability to help the team emerge as a stronger force once we've confronted them head-on.

"I've enjoyed several robust conversations with Rob Key about the direction of travel for the team and have found his enthusiasm contagious. I'm no stranger to bringing about change within a team environment, and I can't wait to get started.

"Ben Stokes is the perfect character to inspire change around him, and I look forward to working closely with him to build a successful unit around us."

England start a new era when they face McCullum's country of birth New Zealand at Lord's on June 2. McCullum will be in charge for the start of that three-match series, providing he receives a visa in time.

Gary Kirsten and Simon Katich had been linked with the Test job, following Silverwood's sacking in the aftermath of a 4-0 Ashes hammering in Australia.

McCullum played 101 Tests in a stellar career between 2004 and 2016, scoring 6,453 runs at an average of 38.64, winning 11 and losing the same number of his 31 matches as skipper. The maverick right-handed batter racked up 260 ODI appearances and 71 Twenty20 internationals, scoring 6,083 runs in the 50-over format and 2,140 in the shortest format.

Paul Collingwood is reportedly the favourite to land the role as white-ball head coach.

Key, who turned 43 on Thursday, believes McCullum can revitalise the struggling England Test side, who have won just one of their last 17 matches.

"It has been a real privilege to get to know him and understand his views and vision for the game," Key said. "I believe his appointment will be good for England's Test team.

"He has a recent history of changing cricket culture and environments for the better, and I believe he is the person to do that for England's red-ball cricket.

"We were incredibly fortunate to have a seriously strong list of quality candidates for the post, with Brendon demonstrating he was our number one choice. I believe in Brendon and Ben Stokes – a formidable coach and captain partnership. Time for us all to buckle up and get ready for the ride."