Campbell Corrigan was tipped to take one of the top jobs at the Police Service of Scotland but confirmed that he has decided against applying due to "family reasons".
Mr Corrigan told a meeting of the Strathclyde Police Authority that he plans to "pursue other career opportunities" when his time with the force comes to an end with the introduction of the new service in April.
However, he said that until then he remains committed to his role with Strathclyde.
The police chief said: "I won't be leaving Strathclyde Police until I know that everything has been taken care of and everything is in order. I want to make that perfectly clear."
He added that breaking the news to his former boss at Strathclyde, Steve House, who now heads up the national force, had proved to be a "difficult" conversation.
Over the last three decades, Mr Corrigan has worked on some of the most high-profile cases in the Strathclyde area.
He spent much of his career as a detective, heading up CID for a time, and led the investigation into the Glasgow Airport terrorist attack.
He was also head of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency for a period, as well as Strathclyde's professional standards unit.
The chief constable also started the country's first counter corruption unit and spent time in the US learning about how to tackle gangs.
His career also stretched to the Assoc-iation of Chief Police Officers in Scotland where he spearheaded a taskforce on football related crime.
Mr House also spoke at the meeting and revealed that the new force will take on the motto from Strathclyde Police – "Keeping People Safe".
The chief constable claimed he had discussed the slogan with others involved in setting up the service and decided it was best.
He said: "We had considered using 'Keeping Scotland Safe' but that seemed to be more approriate for the armed forces. So we've decided to adopt 'Keeping People Safe' because that's what we do."
Mr House has already appointed four deputy chief constables for the single force and will appoint six assistant chief constables next week.