Kelly joins from BAA, where he has been director of communications since 2007.
A former BBC journalist, his previous civil service roles also include communications director at the Northern Ireland Office and Prime Minister’s official spokesman.
Kelly spent six years in Downing Street and had to publicly apologise for referring to government weapons inspector David Kelly as “a Walter Mitty character” during a private discussion with a journalist.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as “an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs”.
He also came under scrutiny in March 1998 when a document he prepared for the then Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam disclosed plans for an unprecedented PR offensive to secure a Yes vote in the referendum on the Good Friday agreement.
He will take up his new role on 4 May and report to the FSA’s chief executive, Hector Sants.
Sants, says: “I am pleased to welcome Tom Kelly to the FSA’s senior management team. His breadth of communications experience will bring considerable strength to the organisation as we take forward the priorities we have laid out in our recent business plan.”
The FSA’s former director of communications John Murray quit in December after four years in the job.