IAN Cheshire has been appointed as the lead non-executive member on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) board.
The outspoken Kingfisher chief executive is no stranger to politics.
He threw his weight behind a high profile campaign by the Tories to reverse a hike in National Insurance, proposed by Labour before their election defeat.
His role in government will involve working with the executive board on issues including performance indicators, the development of business plans and the recruiting and appraisal of senior executives.
However, it is understood he does not have the authority to directly instruct civil servants – a power that is seen by analysts as crucial in driving through change within government.
The role offers a salary of £20,000 a year but Cheshire has waived his entitlement to these payments.
He has guided B&Q owner Kingfisher through a difficult period on the high street.
Last week he announced he will also join Whitbread as a non-executive director to replace Philip Clarke, who will step down when he replaces Terry Leahy as Tesco boss in March.
Cheshire has also worked at Sears and Guinness and he was a non-executive director of Bradford & Bingley from 2003 to 2008.
His appointment to the DWP board is part of a wider scheme to hire non-execs to each government department, with the aim of improving governance across Whitehall and overhauling departmental boards.