John McClelland's appointment to the pound;42,680 part-time post was announced by Nicol Stephen, the deputy First Minister and Lifelong Learning Minister, during a visit to the Edinburgh campus of Jewel and Esk Valley college.
Mr McClelland sat on the higher education funding council in its early days and chaired its quality assessment committee.
The Executive's press release, concentrated on his "extensive experience gained across the private and public sectors" rather than soccer. A former vice-president of worldwide operations for IBM's personal computer division, he was also senior vice-president of the Digital Equipment Corporation. He is a former chairman of Renfrewshire Enterprise Company.
Mr McClelland, 60, said after his appointment he was looking forward to presiding over a coherent system of FE and HE under one council. He added:
"When I think of our colleges and universities, I think of vitality, innovation, growth and very considerable energy."
Mr Stephen said Mr McClelland had been chosen because of his business expertise and also his commitment to lifelong learning.
The new appointment was welcomed by the leading FE players. Tom Kelly, chief executive of the Association of Scottish Colleges, said it was "very good news". Mr McClelland was well known in the business and lifelong learning communities.
Tony Jakimciw, chairman of the FE principals' forum and principal of Dumfries and Galloway college, said: "I have no doubt that he will bring a wealth of experience from the business world which, coupled with his renowned sense of enthusiasm and energy, makes a powerful combination."
Mr Stephen said he expects Mr McClelland to capitalise on his contacts, "leveraging investment" from the private sector and increasing contact between FEHE and the enterprise agencies.
The minister also named other council members, who will hold their first meeting on October 3. They were selected on a ratio of four from the FE council, four from the HE council and four new ones. Existing FE council members are: Ian Murning, head of a firm of chartered surveyors; Jennifer Rees, executive director for student access at Glasgow Caledonian University; Alan Tripp, head of a software company; and Mervyn Jones, whose firm specialises in workforce development.
The HE council is represented by Ian Adam, chairman of the Britannia building society; Peter Holmes, vice-principal of Glasgow University; Rowena Arshad, director of the centre for education for racial equality in Scotland; Ian Ritchie, businessman and chair of the Interactive University; and Alan Tripp, who sat on both former councils.
New members are Jim Martin, director of a management consultancy and former general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland; Janet Lowe, former principal of Lauder College; Jim Gallacher, professor of lifelong learning at Glasgow Caledonian University; and Tariq Durrani, deputy principal at Strathclyde University.
Tom Kelly of the ASC expressed disappointment that there is no one working in a college on the new council; Ms Lowe retired last week. By contrast, he said, five of the 12 work for universities and he called for the balance to be redressed.