Wates has spent six months searching for Paul Drechsler, who announced his intention to step down back in April.
Andrew Davies is currently managing director of BAE Systems’ Maritime business, managing a turnover of more than £2bn and more than 14,000 employees.
Before this, he was group strategy director and managing director of Land Systems.
Wates said that Mr Davies has “significant PFI and financing experience commercially, strategically and operationally”.
Wates chairman James Wates said: “Andrew joins our company at a very exciting time as the construction industry begins to see some positive signs of recovery from this prolonged recession. The company is performing well and we are on track to deliver our projected turnover and objectives for 2013. We will also finish the year with a significantly improved order book providing strong prospects for growth in 2014.
“Paul Drechsler leaves Wates in excellent shape having built our business into a £1bn group. Andrew will develop our business further, and we are looking forward to welcoming him as our new chief executive in January.”