Julia Lewis has been promoted from deputy director of policy development and communications, taking charge of 20 staff.
She will oversee the new standalone communications department, which previously sat with the policy and development teams. The department encompasses media, marketing, events, publishing, information and website functions.
Lewis will also be director of comms for the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust.
She joined the charity as head of publishing in 2000. Before this she managed marketing at the University of Sheffield. Lewis has worked in a range of voluntary sector organisations including Save the Children.
Next month the charity will unveil the findings from its Social Evils initiative, which it launched last July.