Ian Russell has been appointed as the non-executive chairman of Remploy, which provides employment opportunities for disabled people.
Remploy is a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. It receives a grant-in-aid each year in exchange for delivering employment opportunities for about 9,000 disabled people.
Announcing the three-year appointment, work and pensions secretary, John Hutton, said: "I am delighted that Ian Russell has agreed to the appointment at this crucial time in Remploy's history.
"He will play an important role in agreeing proposals for a five-year strategy for the company with ministers and leading the company through its implementation."
Russell was chief executive of utility firm Scottish Power from 2001 until 2006. He has had a career in finance, working for companies such as HSBC bank, confectionery giant Mars, and professional services firm KPMG.