Mike Bracken previously worked as digital development director at The Guardian and will take up the Cabinet Office position in July. The post of director of digital was advertised earlier this year with a salary of £141,000 per annum.
In a blog post Bracken said he was delighted to accept the new position. "For someone with my longstanding interests in open data and technology development, the role is simply too good to pass. The role has many challenges, some specific in terms of delivery, and more generally to bring a culture based on new digital skills into the centre of government in order to transform the delivery of online public services," he said.
"As I've been told several times already, it's a huge challenge, and many government digital projects have faltered in the past. But in my opinion, for the first time, all the elements are lined up favourably."
The position was created following a recommendation by Martha Lane Fox in her Revolution not Evolution report on government digital services, as Whitehall pushes to move more public services online-only. In June the government is expected to publish its digital strategy plan.
"I haven't had time to think about success and the detail of what that will mean, but I know that in several years' time there will need to be a culture of digital innovation at the heart of public service delivery, and those with new digital skills should consider working within government as attractive as working for a technology company," said Bracken.
"I've had the great fortune to work with hundreds of digital developers, and I know at heart they want to change the world and improve digital services from the user's perspective. Now seems to be the time to give them a chance."