The Department for Transport's Phil Graham is to lead the new infrastructure body set up by George Osborne.
Graham, who has served as deputy director for high speed rail strategy and led the DfT team supporting Sir Howard Davies's aviation review, will become chief executive of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).
The NIC was launched by chancellor Osborne at this year's Conservative Party conference and tasked with giving independent analysis and advice on long-term infrastructure projects. Former Labour cabinet minister Lord Adonis was appointed as chair of the NIC, and resigned the Labour whip in the House of Lords in order to take on the job.
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Unveiling the appointment, Osborne said: "The NIC will provide expert, independent advice to the government on the most pressing infrastructure challenges facing the country. Phil’s role as CEO will be vital in overseeing this work."
Lord Adonis also heaped praise on Graham, describing him as "supremely qualified" for the job.
"He has done brilliant work on a wide range of nationally significant projects from high speed rail to the London Olympics and most recently as secretary of the Airports Commission.
"He is an excellent public servant and I am confident he will be superb in his new role."
Graham joined the civil service in 2000, and also worked on the London 2012 Olympics.
His in-tray at the NIC will include reviews of northern transport connectivity, investment in London's transport infrastructure, and the UK's future energy needs, with the Commission expected to report on those three projects by next spring's Budget.