Jenny Berry, who led the voluntary and community transport charity for 15 years under her former name Jenny Meadows, will start as director, Acevo north, on 21 April.
She has spent the past two years running her own kitchen design business, which she has now handed over to her daughter.
Berry said her first priority, other than finding offices in the Leeds area, would be to speak to members across the region. "We want to get some feedback on what members see the issues are for Acevo and what they want to get out of it," she said.
The chief executives organisation is planning to boost its presence in the north of England, where a small proportion of its membership is based.
Acevo has secured a £500,000 Big Lottery Fund grant towards the move (Third Sector Online, 27 February). The Leeds office will provide training, development and professional services for people in the north of England.