Former state representative Brian P. Golden was appointed acting director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority this afternoon in a surprise announcement e-mailed to staff by Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s new administration.

Golden represented Allston-Brighton in the State House from 1999 to 2005, overlapping with Walsh’s time in the House. Several years ago, he was appointed to the post of BRA executive director.

“Good day! The purpose of this email is to notify you that, until further notice, Brian P. Golden, the current Executive Director/Secretary for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (“BRA”) and the Clerk of the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation of Boston (“EDIC”), is the Acting Director for both the BRA and EDIC,” the e-mail message from BRA general counsel Kevin J. Morrison said, noting that Golden will be authorized to sign all documents requiring execution.

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“You are requested to cooperate to the fullest extent during this transition period,” the message, which was obtained by the Globe, continued.

It was unclear how long Golden would keep the post. Walsh has said he would conduct a nationwide search for the next BRA director. Press secretary Kate Norton did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

Golden is a member of the Army Reserves who has returned to active duty several times, serving in Iraq, Bosnia, and the Pentagon.

Politically, he is known for alienating members of his own party by endorsing George W. Bush for president in 2000. He later accepted several appointments by Republicans. Governor Mitt Romney named him a commissioner of the Department of Telecommunications and Energy and he also served as a regional director of the US Department of Health and Human Services in the Bush administration.

The message came to staff at 3:45 p.m. and was viewed by some as a slight to the BRA’s chief of staff, James M. Tierney, an ally of former Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s top political aide and chief of policy and planning Michael Kineavy. Two people involved in the situation told the Globe that the appointment was ordered by the new mayor’s Director of Policy and Planning Joe Rull, once a Kineavy ally himself.

Peter Meade, the last director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said he would retire at the end of Menino’s term.