Ray arrives at the body - which exists to attract investors and tourists to the region - after 25 years in journalism, most recently at BBC East Midlands, where he was political correspondent.
Reporting to director of policy and communications, Sue Kirby, Ray will lead a team of three and be charged with campaigns and publications, corporate, internal and external comms.
The region, which covers Nottinghamshire, Derby- shire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, saw 30,000 new businesses set up last year. But this number must increase by 4,000 every year to meet its target of being one of the top 20 European Union regions for GDP and 'gross value added' by 2010.
Industries prominent in the region include food technology, with a fifth of England's food produced there, textile technology, manufacturing and engineering.
Ray replaces Louise O'Reilly, who left to set up her own PR agency in March. Her role was split to reflect an expanded remit, with an additional senior marketing manager post held by Georgina Walters McLeod.