According to a statement by the City of London, Richards will begin the role on an interim basis when its current chief planning officer Annie Hampson OBE retires in March.
Richards is currently the corporation's assistant director of design, a job he took on in 2014, and will lead its 40-strong development management team.
The statement said he has over 25 years of experience in central London authorities and has led or been involved in every tower and major development scheme in the Square Mile over the past 10 years.
Richards said: "Over the past decade, I have been committed in ensuring that planning in the city is radical, forward-looking and proactive. This is essential to ensure the city is a successful and inclusive place for all.
"I look forward to continuing to deliver a sustainable, cleaner and greener city that is safe, vibrant and adaptable to maintain its international standing and relevance to London’s wonderfully diverse communities.
"We all face challenging times and planning in the City needs to adapt to find radical solutions for the greater good."
Before working at the corporation, Richards was area design and conservation officer at Westminster City Council, and also held the same role at London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.