Imelda Redmond will move to 4Children in early March, from her current role as director of policy and public affairs at Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Redmond, who in her three years at the cancer charity has led its work campaigning for better co-ordination of care for terminally ill people, will take over from Anne Longfield, when she becomes the new children's commissioner for England on 1 March.
Before Marie Curie, Redmond was chief executive of Carers UK for 12 years and in the 1980s worked with disabled children. She is also the chair of the British Gas Energy Trust and was made a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen's 2010 New Year honours.
On her 4Children appointment, Redmond said: “I am delighted to be joining 4Children, a charity which has achieved so much to deliver services which support communities up and down the country and to advocate for children and families at the heart of government.
“But it remains the case that some families are not given the support they need to flourish. 4Children’s aim is to make Britain great for all children and families – as chief executive I will do my utmost to fulfil that goal and I look forward to working with staff and trustees to make it a reality."
Chair of 4Children, Pip O’Byrne added: “Imelda brings a wealth of experience in the charity sector and a record of success in achieving positive change. 4Children has ambitious plans for the future and is thrilled to have Imelda spearheading our work."
Last November, 4Children published plans that recommended all children’s centres be turned into Children and Family Hubs, extending their reach to all children and young people under 19 and co-ordinating a much wider range of services.