Durbin, currently group head of corporate governance, property, environment and security at Standard Chartered, will replace Mike Ellis who steps down in January.
Durbin, who has been at Standard Chartered Group for 17 years and worked in several senior roles in both wholesale and consumer banking, will join the board from 3 December.
Married with four children, Durbin began her career as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand before switching to corporate finance.
The announcement came as property consultant Knight Frank said that WH Smith would open its first stores in Russia next year as part of its global expansion plans.
The company will initially target airports in Russia, Yulia Sokolova, a leasing director at Knight Frank, told Reuters yesterday.