He will head the Chief Fire & Rescue Advisor's Unit to provide independent advice on fire and rescue to the government, set up by the Department for Communities & Local Government.
Fire minister Angela Smith said: 'This is a key role in driving down fire-related deaths and injuries and further improving fire and rescue service delivery.
'Getting the right person for the job has therefore been crucial, and I am confident that Sir Ken, with his wide fire and rescue service experience, is the right person to offer the very best advice in this central role.'
As part of his role, Sir Ken and his unit will advice ministers, the Cabinet office and local government during a major emergency.
The unit will also continue the drive to reduce fire deaths, which have been halved in England over the last 25 years.
London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority deputy chair Brian Coleman (Con) said:
'Sir Ken led from the front during the 7 July tragedy.
'The people of London will be slightly surprised by the news that he is to take up the job of the government's new chief fire and rescue adviser but owe him a great debt of gratitude for the work he carried out.'
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