Currently professor of health policy and management at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, he will succeed Niall Dickson on 6 April 2010.
Professor Ham, an Honorary Fellow of the RCGP, is a health policy analyst with extensive experience of working with health service agencies in the UK and internationally.
He was director of the strategy unit at the Department of Health from 2000 to 2004.
He previously worked for The King's Fund from 1986 to 1992.
Professor Ham has served as an adviser to numerous agencies including the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, and the health departments of New Zealand and Sweden.
In the UK, he has advised the BMA, the Audit Commission, the British Dental Association, the NHS Confederation and the House of Commons Health Committee.
Professor Ham said he was looking forward to joining the King's Fund at such a challenging time for the NHS.
‘The combination of leadership development, high-quality, independent policy analysis, and practical support for the improvement of services that the Fund provides will be increasingly vital as pressures on the health care system continue to grow,' he said.