David Foster has been appointed as deputy chief nursing officer at the Department of Health.
Mr Foster will replace Janice Sigsworth, who left the DH in October.
He said: "I am looking forward to taking up my new role and the challenges that this will bring.
"There are tremendous opportunities to drive up the quality of nursing and midwifery care as part of the next stage review which will improve the lives of both staff and patients."
His role will include a focus on modernising nursing careers.
Mr Foster has been working in chief nursing officer Christine Beasley's team at the Department of Health since April 2008, where he has taken responsibility for midwifery, acute care, workforce, education and clinical academic training issues.
A registered nurse and midwife, he spent much of his clinical career in intensive care and midwifery and was awarded a PhD for his research into developing nurses as managers.
He moved to the DH from Imperial College Healthcare trust, where he was director of non-medical postgraduate development.
Before that, he was director of nursing at Hammersmith Hospitals trust and chaired the Association of UK University Hospitals directors of nursing group.
Ms Beasley said: "I am delighted that David is being promoted to the role of deputy chief nursing officer.
"David joined my team in April this year and has already completed important work developing a strategy to enhance the quality of midwifery care as part of the next stage review."
The appointment will take effect on 1 December.