Lister will join Andrew Lansley’s department later this year as director of comms.
He replaces Sian Jarvis, director-general for comms at the DH since 2004.
Jarvis is a former GMTV political reporter who joined the DH in 1999 as the head of news. She quit earlier this year without a new job lined up.
Lister was appointed following an open competition under the provisions of the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles.
He took up his current role at The Times in early 2009, having previously been an assistant news editor at the newspaper.
Lister has been at The Times for ten years and served as a health correspondent, a Scotland correspondent and a general news reporter.
‘Do not sensationalise,’ Lister advised aspiring journalists in 2009. The website Journlaism.co.uk quotes him as also saying: ‘Keeping cod science out of the media is as important as getting good stories in.’