Francis, who has been a member of the board for six years, was appointed to the post by the Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham, and will assume the role with immediate effect.
Sepa said that with two decades of experience in environment and sustainability across the public and private sectors, Francis’ role would complement that of its chairman, Bob Downes, on the 11-strong agency board, alongside chief executive Terry A’Hearn.
An alumnus of the University of Aberdeen and Edinburgh Napier University, Francis previously held the position of head of environment at Network Rail, was formerly on the board of Scottish Natural Heritage and is the director of two environment and sustainability consultancies.
Downes said: “Sepa plays an important role in the life of Scotland and now more than ever we have a critical role to play in helping support Scottish businesses adapt during this next period.
“More than that, we’ll be helping Scotland plan for recovery. With Michelle’s Scottish business sustainability experience she will play a critical role in helping our people deliver our ambitious ‘One Planet Prosperity’ agenda.”
Taking up the new role, Francis said: “It is a privilege to take on this role at a critical time where for many an extended period indoors reminds us all how important the wider environment is.
“I look forward to helping to ensure Sepa supports Scotland to get through the current crisis and then push forward with delivering One Planet Prosperity as part of our recovery.”