Senior civil servant Deborah McLaughlin is to return on secondment to Manchester City Council six years after she left as housing director to run the Homes & Communities Agency in the North West.
McLaughlin will become chief executive of the recently launched Manchester Place £1bn house-building initiative for a 12-month period, starting in February 2015.
Karl Tupling, the HCA's head of strategy and performance for the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, will assume McLaughlin's responsibilities during this period.
Manchester Place is a collaboration between Manchester City Council and the HCA. It was launched in July with the aim of creating a pipeline of development-ready sites to help the city meet its target of creating 55,000 new homes by 2027.
The move builds on McLaughlin's role overseeing the joint programme board for Manchester Place in the past 12 months. The two organisations have now agreed the secondment to kick-start delivery of the initial schemes.
McLaughlin said she was "looking forward to delivering strategic residential and commercial initiatives across the city."
The population of Manchester grew by 19% in the past decade.