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Stead could be announced as early as next week after he was unanimously recommended to the board of New Zealand Cricket, Stuff reports.
According to the report, Stead was the clear choice to succeed Hesson ahead of the other main candidate, Central Stags coach Heinrich Malan.
The 46-year-old Stead was a five-test Black Cap and played 101 first-class matches for Canterbury.
After retiring in 2006, he turned to coaching and guided the White Ferns to the 2009 World Cup final, before moving in 2012 on to the Canterbury men's team, which he guided to three Plunket Shield titles.