Laura Simons has stepped down as communications director at the Motor Neurone Disease Association to join the Government's Food Standards Agency (FSA) as its first head of PR.
Hers is one of five new roles created by the formation of the FSA last April to allay public fears in the wake of the BSE crisis.
She reports to the body's director of communications Neil Martinson.
Other recent appointments at the government agency include heads of publicity, new media and publications. Simons' appointment brings the communications team to 15.
She has worked at the MNDA for four years, during which she initiated campaigns to raise awareness of the condition. She starts at the FSA in February.
Simons said: 'My brief at the FSA is to develop relations with stakeholders and consumer organisations. I'll be building a team and will assess needs and its size with the communication director.'
Simons said she will bring relevant experience to the FSA from her time spent at the Consumers' Association from 1989 until 1997. 'I was at the association during the BSE crisis so this is not new ground for me in that respect,' she added.
The MNDA is yet to make an appointment to replace Simons. The charity is on the hunt for a new director of communications following her departure.