Ben White joins from Hampshire Constabulary where he is head of corporate comms. He is expected to start in December.
The news follows a review carried out in August by Westminster City Council - led by director of comms Alex Aiken - which revealed that Southampton needed to make savings of £100,000 a year.
Westminster's report stated that Southampton's comms performance was weak and 'operating at a level below that of council services'.
White will be responsible for implementing the recommendations agreed by Southampton's cabinet in June for improving the council's comms, including identifying the required efficiency savings.
White began his career as an information officer with the Prison Service, before moving to the Ministry of Defence and then working for technology company QinetiQ.
He was promoted to head of corporate comms at Hampshire Constabulary in 2007, where he leads 28 PROs with a budget in excess of £1m.