Ms Turnbull will take over from principal Heather Dunk who announced her retirement earlier this year. Ms Turnbull has been principal and chief executive of Dumfries and Galloway College since August 2012.
As a highly experienced college principal, she is fully aware of the current operating environment for colleges in Scotland and recognises the significant opportunities and challenges involved in taking forward a vibrant and successful regional college.
Willie Mackie, regional chair, said: “Ayrshire College is a very successful college and the position of principal attracted some very strong candidates from across the UK.
“We were looking for someone to build on the great work that our current principal has achieved. Someone with ambition and drive to help us realise the vision we have for the college locally, regionally and nationally.
“Carol is currently the chair of the Colleges Scotland Principals’ Group and as vice chair of the Board of Colleges Scotland, has an excellent understanding of the national context for colleges in Scotland. She has built strong and important relationships with key stakeholders at a national level and her profile within the Scottish context is high.
“I am very much looking forward to Carol taking up her new role with us and will work with Heather and Carol to ensure a smooth handover.”
Carol Turnbull said: “This is an irresistible opportunity to help shape the future for one of the largest regions in Scotland and I am excited to be joining a college that already has a successful reputation for supporting learners and its communities.
“I look forward to working with the board, staff, learners and stakeholders to build on that success and ensure Ayrshire College continues to meet and exceed the expectations of the region and the sector.”