Ferguson will take over from interim chairman Paul Orchard-Lisle who intends to step down from the board in “due course”.
Orchard-Lisle will remain with the group as chairman of its property board.
Ferguson is currently the chairman of textile business Berendsen and a non-executive director of Balfour Beatty and high street baker Greggs.
He is also the lead non-executive director for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the honorary vice-president of the British Nutrition Foundation.
‘Wealth of experience’
Orchard-Lisle said Ferguson, who was also ceo of Tate & Lyle for six years and president of the Food and Drink Federation, will bring a wealth of experience to the role.
“He will bring to the group a wealth of commercial and governance experience and a deep knowledge of our industry and the markets we serve,” said Orchard-Lisle. “He is the ideal person to help the group to move forward and deliver outstanding shareholder returns.”
Stobart ceo Andrew Tinkler added that Ferguson would provide experienced leadership at a “pivotal point” in the firm’s development.
Rodney Baker Bates also announced his decision to stand down as a non-executive director of the board when further appointments are made.