Policy adviser Ros Altmann is set to join the Saga Group in the newly-created role of director general at the start of October.
Saga Group offers services for the over 50s, including insurance, annuity services through Legal & General and equity release through Just Retirement.
Altmann says: "We need better financial education, help with financial planning, part-time work instead of full-time retirement and a strong voice to represent the over-50s in the policy debate for those coming up to retirement, as well as pensioners.
"We cannot go on as we are. This age group is a huge political force and society must not take advantage of them.
"We are in danger of wasting their talents as they head for a miserable retirement, living on inadequate pensions or means-tested handouts.
"I want to help and, with the backing of the Saga Group and its loyal customer base, hope to make a difference in the coming years."
Altmann says there is a large role to be played by IFAs in averting the retirement crisis.
"We have millions of over 50s who don't understand what's coming," she says. "People who are lucky enough to have an IFA will probably be alright, but they are a minority.
"IFAs have a role to educate and encourage people with their financial planning."
Altman hopes to continue with much of her work raising awareness of retirement issues in the media and in shaping policy. "I've watched policy go wrong for so long," she says.
"I am planning research through customer surveys; Saga has a million people on its books, which is a great opportunity for policy research."
Andrew Goodsell, executive chairman at Saga Group, says: "Helping to change the way society perceives age and improving the lives and well-being of people over 50 has always been part of Saga's mission.
"We have had great success with the Saga Manifesto and the Saga debates, in which all three Party leaders took part in the run up to the last General Election.
"The appointment of Dr Altmann as director-general reinforces our commitment to champion our customers' needs and interests. With her policy background and in-depth grasp of pensions, retirement and finance, Ros is well placed to ensure that politicians and others sit up and take notice."
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