Nominations for the post opened today. But after a decade as Mr Salmond’s deputy, Ms Sturgeon is expected to inherit the top job unopposed.
The party will also have to choose a new deputy, but she is not expected to endorse anyone as a running mate.
Ms Sturgeon will take over a party which has seen its membership double since the No vote in last week’s referendum.
But her announcement today came as the SNP’s majority in the Scottish Parliament was cut to one with the resignation of backbench MSP John Wilson, right.
Mr Wilson, a Central Scotland list MSP, cited the SNP’s policy switch on Nato as the key reason for his departure. He said he had stuck with the party through the referendum to avoid distracting attention from the independence campaign.
He will now sit as an independent MSP and decide whether to vote with the SNP on an issue-by-issue basis. The SNP voted two years ago that an independent Scotland should stay in Nato.