Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, medical adviser and primary care lead for the healthcare think tank The King's Fund, has also been chief executive of five PCTs.
He joins Bupa in the summer and replaces Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, who has retired after 17 years at Bupa.
Dr Zollinger-Read said: 'I'm very excited to be joining the team at Bupa. I'm looking forward to further developing and deploying Bupa's healthcare expertise, realising our purpose to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives.'
Bupa chief executive Stuart Fletcher said: 'I'm delighted to welcome Paul to Bupa - he brings a wealth of healthcare skill and experience to his new role. Paul will ensure we continue to develop and sustain our world class standards of clinical governance and practice, continuing Andrew's excellent work and further strengthening our healthcare credentials.'