Meehan will take up his new post in July 2006. He will direct ABT's Studio Company this season as a consultant.
"Our board is so pleased that John Meehan has accepted our offer as artistic director," said Cissy Pao Watari, the chair of Hong Kong Ballet's board. "We are confident that with Meehan's worldwide reputation and experience, Hong Kong Ballet will reach a new plateau under his artistic leadership."
Meehan replaces Stephen Jefferies, a former Royal Ballet principal dancer who has led Hong Kong Ballet since 1996. During his tenure, the company has added Wayne Ealing's The Last Emperor and Jeffries' own The legend of the Great Archer to its repertoire, among other works.
Jefferies did not step down of his own accord, apparently: Hong Kong Ballet CEO Helen Ng told the New York Times that "the board felt it's time for a change."
Meehan was born in Australia and danced with the Australian Ballet and ABT over a 20-year career. He served as artistic director of Royal Winnipeg Ballet from 1990 to 1993 and has directed ABT's Studio Company since 1997.