Watkin Jones announced on Friday that, following a "comprehensive" formal search process, Richard Simpson has been appointed to succeed Mark Watkin Jones as CEO.
The AIM-traded firm had announced Mark Watkin Jones' decision to stand down from the board as CEO on 15 January.
It said Simpson would be joining Watkin Jones from FTSE 250 student accommodation provider Unite Group, where he was group property director.
He would join the board of Watkin Jones as CEO effective on 2 January 2019.
Outgoing chief Mark Watkin Jones had also reiterated his commitment to provide ongoing support to the group as CEO for as long as needed, the board said, and upon Simpson's formal start date, to work with him during a transitional period to ensure an orderly handover.
"The board is delighted to announce the appointment of Richard Simpson as CEO," said chairman Grenville Turner.
"We are pleased to be appointing a CEO with FTSE 250 board experience as well as a highly recognised industry figure with an immense track record and credibility."
Turner said Simpson was "well known" to the Watkin Jones Board having worked closely with the business on several occasions.
"We look forward to a long and prosperous period with Richard at the helm of what is a growing business."
Departing CEO Mark Watkin Jones said he was "extremely pleased" that he would be handing over his CEO responsibilities to an "experienced and recognised" operator in the sector.
"Richard's knowledge and first-hand experience of the PBSA sector is significant for the group.
"I will do what needs to be done to ensure a smooth handover, and I will work closely with Richard during the transition period.
"I strongly believe I am handing over stewardship of Watkin Jones to the right candidate as the group enters the next phase of its growth."
Commenting on his appointment, Richard Simpson said Watkin Jones had a "well earned reputation" as one of the UK's leading developers, with an "unrivalled" focused expertise across PRS from build to rent to student accommodation development and management.
"I am excited by the prospect of working with the board, senior management and staff to build on the group's strong foundations and to lead the business in the continued execution of its strategy."