He is the third new minister for the Cabinet Office since 2010, with no minister since matching the five year tenure of Francis Maude, who oversaw the creation of the Government Digital Service and pushed for the end of multi-million pound legacy IT deals in Whitehall.
The former work and pensions secretary will also take on the role of minister for the Cabinet Office.
Gove's new role in charge of Defra gives him the hard tasks of ensuring all relevant European Union energy and environmental regulations are transposed into United Kingdom law following Brexit, and of releasing the much-delayed 25-Year Plan for the environment - both of which edie readers have highlighted as top priorities for the new Conservative minority government. "But what I'm doing now is actually getting on with the immediate job", she said.
No sooner was his appointment confirmed on Sunday than social media was abuzz with a story that Mr Gove had attempted to remove climate change from the national curriculum during his time as Education Secretary.
Earlier the Prime Minister announced that she was promoting Damian Green to become First Minister of State - a title associated in the past with the position of deputy prime minister.
Greg Clark has also been kept on as Secretary of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also suggests that work on the government's industrial strategy will not be delayed too much.
Downing Street said he had been appointed Environment Secretary replacing Andrea Leadsom who becomes the new Leader of the Commons.
Having so far resisted calls to step down as prime minister, May has responded with a Cabinet reshuffle - details of which began to emerge on Sunday afternoon.
Lidington's move sees him replace Liz Truss, who has faced criticism in the justice role and has been moved by May to Gauke's former post as treasury chief secretary.
The Prime Minister said the new line-up brought in "talent from across the whole of the Conservative party".
"I look forward to working with him and his team and we are eager to get on with addressing the big challenges ahead". But I think that's what's important... I genuinely didn't expect this role. Welcome back to Michael!
Ms Greening, who stays at Education despite differences with Mrs May over the Prime Minister's flagship programme for more grammar schools in England, told reporters she was "very happy" to be carrying on as she left No 10.
However Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon disclosed that senior ministers had made clear to her that she would have to change the way she operated in the light of the election result.