The secretary of state for transport, Ruth Kelly, today announced that Richard Turfitt will take on the role of traffic commissioner from the May 1.
Senior Traffic Commissioner Phillip Brown, who is responsible for the South East and Metropolitan area, welcomed Turfitt's appointment.
He said: "I am delighted that the recent recruitment competition has resulted in someone of Richard's experience and calibre joining our team of regional Traffic Commissioners."
"It is an important role, and one in which I am sure Richard will excel," he added.
As traffic commissioner Turfitt will be responsible for the regulation of bus, coach and goods vehicle operators, in addition to registration of local bus services.
He will have the power to order a public inquiry if concerns arise over an operator's service provision or conduct, and can revoke the operator's licence.
Prior to his appointment at the DfT, Turfitt headed the Health and Safety Executive's London-based Litigation and Enforcement Advisory Team.
He was also the legal advisor to the statutory inquiry into the events leading to the explosion at the Buncefield oil depot in Hertfordshire in 2005.
The position of traffic commissioner for the Eastern area has been vacant since the retirement of the previous commissioner, Geoffrey Simms, last year.
The Eastern area covers the counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire (not including North and North East Lincolnshire), Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Suffolk, Leicester City, Luton, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Rutland, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock.