He will join the new public body with immediate effect and work with Duncan Selbie, the Chief Executive Designate, to ensure its effective establishment.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said it was a “welcome and timely appointment”.
Dr Heymann will fill the role until a permanent appointment is made in the autumn.
Public Health England will be responsible for protecting and improving the public’s health through the provision of health protection services. It aims to provide expert public health advice and professional support to local authorities, the NHS and the general public.
“I am delighted to be given this tremendous opportunity to play a role in the development of Public Health England,” said Dr Heymann. “In particular, my appointment as Acting Chair of Public Health England will enable me to work closely with Duncan Selbie to help assure continuity of service provision as we move through the transition period.”
The current Chairman of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has a number of years experience working within healthcare. Prior to joining the HPA, he served in a number of senior roles at World Health Organization.