McLoughlin, who is the son of the Conservative Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, is to join the 35,000-strong membership group for business leaders in August.
He will report to James Sproule, the IoD’s chief economist and director of policy.
Director-general Simon Walker said: "James will be coming to the IoD at an incredibly exciting time. We’re focusing our policy and campaign work on wealth creation in the new economy, disruptive technologies, entrepreneurship and innovation.
"He’ll be responsible for coordinating our output across these areas and will be working closely with our Policy Unit specialists in areas such as financial services, regulation, taxation and infrastructure."
McLoughlin said: "I’ve always enjoyed being at the forefront of innovation, whether in small campaigns or as part of a larger business, and this is an approach that the IoD embodies.
"They may be the oldest business organisation around, but time and again they demonstrate foresight in areas such as shale gas, labour market changes and the effects of disruptive technologies."