HM Treasury appointed him to the role following the advice of the FCA board, where he has been an executive member since 2015.
Woolard is currently the executive director of strategy and competition and will take on the position following Andrew Bailey’s departure to become governor of the Bank of England, after his appointment in December.
Woolard will take up the role on Monday 16 March and will remain in post until a permanent successor is appointed and able to start.
FCA chairman Charles Randell said: “I’m looking forward to working with Chris in his interim chief executive role.
“I’m confident that he and executive committee colleagues will continue to deliver our ambitious plans for change in 2020 and beyond, building on the foundations laid by Andrew Bailey.”
John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, added: “I am pleased to appoint Chris to the role of interim chief executive of the FCA and I look forward to working closely with him to ensure the UK remains a world leader in financial services.”