The Cabinet Office has appointed Mike Bracken, formerly director of digital development at the Guardian, as its new executive digital director.
Bracken will take up his new role on 5 July, and will be responsible for improving all of the government's online activities, and for expanding the number of public services available online.
He will be responsible for more than 100 staff and report to the government's chief operating officer Ian Watmore.
Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: "Improving public services across Government by bringing them online, making people's lives easier and saving millions of pounds is a prize worth having. Mike has shown he can deliver real change through his achievements at the Guardian. I am looking forward seeing radical change in our public services online experience."
The government posted a job advert for the position in April, where it said it was looking for someone who would be responsible for implementing its new digital strategy, and reducing the cost of delivering the Directgov platform. The role was created following digital champion Martha Lane Fox's review of the Directgov portal.
Bracken will earn an annual salary of around £142,000, according to the job posting.
"While there is a great deal to do, I am convinced that if we attract new digital skills, adopt user-first principles and work collaboratively within government and with a wider, more agile supplier base, then we can improve how citizens interact with government," said Bracken.
"We will need to collaborate, be open and quick to adopt new technologies and continually learn from users and their experiences, and it will take backing from all corners, but the prize on offer is simply too great to ignore."
Earlier this month, the government launched the Alphagov portal, a prototype website showcasing how citizens can engage with government online.