BAE Systems, the British aerospace company making military equipment, said on Friday that its chief operating officer Ian King would replace chief executive Mike Turner from September.
BAE had last year announced that Turner would retire in late 2008 after five years in the post which has seen him lead the group's expansion into the United States and attempt to fight off allegations of corruption against the company.
"Ian is a highly experienced business leader," BAE chairman Dick Olver said in a statement.
"His performance focus and depth of knowledge of the global defence industry will benefit the continued progression of the successful strategy that has been pursued by the company during the course of Mike Turner's leadership," he added.
King, who will take up his new position on September 1, is currently responsible for 45,000 employees in all of BAE's operations outside the United States. Turner has been chief executive since 2003 and will step down in late August.
Prior to his departure, a legal appeal by the British government against a High Court judgement which said that it acted unlawfully by dropping a probe into an arms deal between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia will take place in July.
In April, London's High Court overturned a decision by the Serious Fraud Office to ditch the probe into a 1985 deal worth 43 billion pounds to provide fighter jets and other military hardware.
The probe, into alleged bribery and corruption, was abandoned in December 2006.
Explaining the move, then prime minister Tony Blair said that pursuing the probe into the Al-Yamamah deal could threaten intelligence links at a key point in the "war on terror."