Colette Bowe, already an Ofcom board member, will become the regulator's chairman when Lord Currie steps down at Easter. The 61-year old will serve a five-year term with an annual salary of £200,000.
Trained as an economist, Ms Bowe worked at the Independent Broadcasting Authority and was a founding chairman of the Telecoms Ombudsman Council and the Ofcom Consumer Panel. She is currently chairman of Council at Queen Mary College and on the boards of Axa Framlington, Morgan Stanley and Electra Private Equity.
Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary, said: "The communications industries have huge significance for our economy during these challenging times, and Colette's knowledge and experience will be invaluable at Ofcom in helping deliver greater choice and innovation across the sector."