The Football Association says Baroness Sue Campbell's appointment as its new head of women's football is a "massive statement".
Baroness Campbell, 56, is the former boss of UK Sport.
During her time at UK Sport from 2003-2013, she oversaw a rise in the number of British medals won at the Olympics.
Kelly Simmons, the FA's director of participation and development, called Baroness Campbell "one of the most influential people in British sport".
"I'm really excited about helping shape the future vision and strategy for girls and women's football," said Baroness Campbell.
"Great strides have already been made both in terms of grassroots participation and at the elite level and I'm really looking forward to building on the work already done."
She will focus her work on increasing grassroots participation and getting further success for England's elite women's teams.
England reached the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup, eventually finishing third with a 1-0 win over Germany.
Campbell, who will start her new role in March, is also chair of the Youth Sport Trust and was awarded a CBE for her services to sport in 2003.