Chairman will be Paul Whitehouse, formerly chief constable of Sussex, and currently vice-chair of NACRO, the crime reduction charity.
Chief executive Michael Wilson was a major general on the Defence Intelligence Staff and is currently chief executive of the Defence Vetting Agency.
From April, the Nottingham-based authority, set up under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act, will develop and operate a licensing scheme, set licensing conditions and maintain a register of licensed labour providers in the agricultural sector. It will be an offence for anyone acting as a gangmaster to operate without a licence.
It will also be illegal for anyone to use an unlicensed gangmaster. Offenders face up to 10 years in jail.
Whitehouse said: “The public want to know that the fresh food they buy has been picked and processed by people who are treated properly.”
Food and farming minister Lord Whitty said of the new appointments: “Their track records and experience make me confident that the authority will operate effectively, with zero tolerance for those who abuse workers or flout the law.”
The appointments of Whitehouse and Wilson will be confirmed when Parliament adopts regulations underpinning the authority’s operation, expected in March.