Governor Deval Patrick named Michael Pelgro, the first assistant Middlesex district attorney, to serve as acting district attorney Thursday, until he appoints a replacement for Gerard T. Leone Jr., who resigned to take a job in a law firm.
The governor has not said how long Pelgro will serve as acting district attorney, but it is expected to be several weeks.
“I am very grateful that the governor has exhibited the confidence in me, to appoint me to such an important position of public trust,” Pelgro said in a statement.
He has been a state and federal prosecutor for more than 20 years. For 17 years, he was the assistant US attorney in Boston, in the Major Crimes Unit and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit.
He has also been an attorney in private firms, including five years in white-collar criminal defense and government investigations at Foley Hoag in Boston. A graduate of Boston College and Boston College Law School, he is married with four children.
Leone, a Democrat, is resigning to join Nixon Peabody, the firm that recently hired former US senator Scott Brown.
“I have full faith and confidence in Mike’s ability to lead the office through this brief transition period,” Leone said in the statement. “His depth of experience and knowledge as a lawyer and manager will serve him and the county of Middlesex well in this position.”
Patrick has not said whom he will name to replace Leone. His choice will remain in office until elections in fall 2014 and could then run for a full four-year term in the office.
The Globe has previously reported that legal insiders have mentioned a number of possible choices, including David Solet, chief of the Middlesex district attorney’s Cyberprotection Division; Chris Doherty, now a private attorney and the office’s former general counsel; Middlesex Clerk of Courts Michael Sullivan; and John Verner, criminal chief in the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian is also a possible replacement for Leone, and Rachel Kaprielian, registrar of motor vehicles and another Patrick appointee, has not ruled out interest in the seat.