She will join from The Coca-Cola Company, where she currently leads European public affairs and comms. She has been with the beverage maker since 2007, before which she had held comms roles at Diageo and Boots.
Lawrie will sit on the group's executive committee.
The announcement of Lawrie's imminent arrival comes six months after Rebecca Shelley left the business. While Shelley initially held the job title of group corporate affairs director, the corporate affairs department was renamed group communications in January 2015.
A Tesco spokesman said there had not been an acting comms head since Shelley left, with the individual directorates within group comms all reporting directly to CEO Dave Lewis.
Lewis joined the company in late summer 2014. Three weeks after his arrival, Tesco suffered significant embarrassment over the news that it had overstated its profits by £326m – something Lewis later said was a "catalyst" for change within the business.
Lewis said: "We’re really pleased to welcome Jane to Tesco. Over the past 18 months we’ve made good progress in restoring trust in our brand and our business, and Jane will help to continue this improvement. She has huge expertise and experience, as well as extremely strong values. We’re really looking forward to having her in the team."
Her counterpart at Sainsbury's, Louise Evans, is the subject of the main interview in the latest edition of PRWeek – print copies will land with subscribers later this week.