Pericles Lewis, professor of English and comparative literature, will become Yale-NUS College’s inaugural president, the school’s governing board announced Wednesday.

Previously, Lewis chaired the Yale-NUS humanities faculty search committee and also served on the school’s curriculum development committee. University President Richard Levin said these experiences made Lewis stand out in the international search for the first president of Yale-NUS.

“In my 19-year career as President of Yale, I have mentored several colleagues who have gone on to lead major universities, including Cambridge, Oxford, MIT, Duke and Carnegie-Mellon,” Levin said Wednesday in a speech at NUS’s University Hall. “Pericles Lewis stands out, even in this distinguished group, for his ability to cut to the heart of the matter, to articulate solutions clearly and simply and to inspire others.”

As president, Lewis will focus on developing Yale-NUS’s curriculum and hiring administrators and faculty, Levin said in an email to the News on Wednesday. So far, only 30 of 100 faculty hires have been made.

Lewis will split his time between New Haven and Singapore in the 2012-’13 academic year, eventually moving to the city state with his family in the summer of 2013, the release stated. In a Wednesday email to the News, Lewis said he will not teach classes at Yale, but will continue supervising the graduate dissertations of three students.

“It is an extraordinary privilege to have the opportunity to lead this new college as we re-imagine undergraduate education for the 21st century,” Lewis said in the release.

The governing board also announced that National University of Singapore professor Lai Choy Heng will serve as Yale-NUS’s executive vice president for academic affairs — a position temporarily held by Lily Kong, NUS vice president for university and global relations.