He starts on 13 December and joins from freelancers’ trade association the Professional Contractors Group – PCG – where he was head of commercial development.
Until 2009 he was the London regional director for the Federation of Master Builders and before that he worked with the British Plastics Federation as business services manager.
Mr McIlwee has a masters degree in materials science and engineering.
His brief at BWF is to lead and implement the federation’s core strategies around membership growth, business support services to members and developing the industry leaders of the future.
Mr McIlwee said: “BWF has a great pedigree and track record. But what really excited me about this role is the BWF’s evident desire and commitment to help the members and to develop and evolve the organisation.
“I look forward to working with the executive committee, the members and staff to take the BWF and associated schemes to the next level of success. Together we will create a more effective resource, well equipped to help the woodworking sector deal with the realities of the current climate and to take full advantage of current and future opportunities.”