Nahid Majid has worked in urban regeneration for more than 20 years and was awarded an OBE in 2006.
"This is an important moment in Design Council CABE's development. Now is a time of major change in planning and the built environment," said Majid. She takes up her post in February.
"I look forward to working closely with the Government, developers and communities to ensure that good design is at the heart of all these changes."
She joins from the Mayor's Fund for London, where she was a director of programme development, and replaces architect Diane Haigh, who left last year.