Sturgeon, who succeeded Alex Salmond as First Minister last week, announced a top team that includes Alex Neil as cabinet secretary for social justice, communities and pensioners’ rights - with a remit that includes planning.
Neil’s portfolio also includes responsibility for local government, democratic renewal, building standards, business improvement districts, town centres and housing.
Junior minister Marco Biagi will be responsible for local government and community empowerment, while colleague Margaret Burgess retains her existing responsibilites for housing and welfare.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said Biagi was likely to have ministerial responsibility for planning issues, but that a final decision had not been made.
Mackay, who had been Scotland’s local government and planning minister since 2011, becomes minister for transport and the islands under cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities Keith Brown.
Sturgeon said her ministerial lineup contained more than 40 per cent women for the first time in the Scottish government’s history, while the cabinet itself was precisely half men, half women.
"The aims of my government are clear: to create a nation that is both social democratic and socially just, a nation that is confident in itself and governed effectively and a nation which will address poverty, support business, promote growth and tackle inequality," she said.
"The new cabinet team I have announced will pursue these priorities with verve, vigour and determination".