All-rounder Greg Smith is moving from Derbyshire to Essex, who have also tied star bowler David Masters to a new deal.
South African Smith, who spent eight years in the Midlands on a Kolpak deal, has signed a two-year contract with the club.
Smith said: "I would like to thank Essex, (chief executive) David East and (head coach) Paul Grayson for giving me the opportunity to take my career to the next level.
"I am looking forward to joining up with the squad and working towards successful times with my new club and help to win silverware in the future.
"I enjoyed my time with Derbyshire but the opportunity to come and play for Essex was too good to turn down."
Smith made 726 runs in 13 County Championship matches at an average 34.57 last season and took 26 wickets at 38.11 apiece.
His career first-class batting average is 30.92, while his 146 first-class wickets have come at an average of 35.81.
Coach Grayson will hope Smith can add some solidity to Essex's fragile batting line-up which undermined their challenge for promotion from Division Two of the Championship. They eventually finished seventh, two places below Derbyshire.
Grayson said: "Greg is a cricketer that I admire. He is a very talented all-rounder and has a great character for the dressing room which I feel will benefit us.
"He is a very good cricketer who will fit in well with the team and I look forward to working with him at Essex."
Meanwhile, Masters has signed a new three-year contract, keeping him at the club until 2014.
The 33-year-old was the highest wicket-taker in the country in 2011, claiming 93 victims, including a career-best eight for 10 against Leicestershire at Southend.
Masters said: "I am very happy to have signed a new contract with Essex to take me up until the 2014 season.
"I have had a good year and the new deal takes it up to the later stages of my career which is ideal as I would like to finish my career at Essex.
"There are a crop of good, young cricketers coming through the club and I am looking to be part of this in the coming years where I believe we can win silverware."
Masters' efforts this summer have seen him nominated for the NatWest PCA Player of the Year award.