He will join the umbrella body in April, succeeding Shirley Scott, who left at the end of last year.
David Membrey, deputy chief executive of CFDG, has assumed interim control of the organisation until Hickey takes up the post.
Hickey has been finance director at Help the Aged for the past seven years, during which time the charity's income has risen by 25 per cent.
He spent more than 18 years with British Gas before that.
He is also currently a trustee of CFDG and chairman of its public affairs committee.
Paul Breckell, chairman of CFDG, said: "We are delighted to have Keith join us as chief executive. It is an exciting time for CFDG as we roll out a new strategy supporting our ongoing commitment to deliver services that are valued by our members and enable those who have financial responsibility in the charity sector to develop and adopt best practice.
"Keith brings a wealth of experience in relation to charity finance. He is well known and respected in the sector for his thinking, writing and speaking on the key strategic issues facing our membership."
In October, CFDG recruited its 1,000th member. It has announced a new five-year plan, which includes a commitment to collaborate with other organisations "to explain publicly the economic realities of running a charity". Closer relationships with Acevo and the Institute of Fundraising are also expected. A new brand image was unveiled last year.
Mike Lake, director general of Help the Aged, commented: "It has always been Keith's ambition to lead an organisation. I am particularly pleased that the skills and experience he gained during his time as finance director at Help the Aged will be used more widely in this new role, which is extremely influential in the charity sector."
Shirley Scott was CFDG's first chief executive in 1994, when it had only 300 members. It now has 1,100.
- Keith Hickey will join the Charity Finance Directors' Group as chief executive in April, succeeding Shirley Scott
- He has worked as finance director at Help the Aged for the past seven years, and before that spent more than 18 years at British Gas
- He is also a trustee of CFDG and chairman of its public affairs committee.