Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, will advise government departments as they prepare to implement further spending cuts in 2016.
Street will become lead non-executive director of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) from January 1. He will replace Sara Weller, former Argos chief executive, who steps down at the end of the year.
Street said: ”The role of government and this department in particular is changing in many ways from the implications of devolution to the need to partner with business and communities across the country. I hope my experience will be valuable to the department as it navigates these exciting challenges under Greg Clark’s [communities secretary] leadership.”
Clark said Street brings with him ”a wealth of experience and leadership from the business world”, and will be ”invaluable to drive forward the government’s priorities on devolution, local economic growth and housing.”
Last week the DCLG agreed to a 30% budget cut as part of the spending review being drawn up ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement.
Street chairs the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and is a former member of the prime minister’s business advisory group.
Ministers began hiring business leaders as non-executive directors of government departments five years ago. Sir Ian Cheshire, ex-chief executive of Kingfisher, succeeded the former BP boss Lord Browne as the Government’s lead non-executive director earlier this year.