Investors have punished Cobham following an accounting scandal, a string of profit warnings as well as a $500m rights issue.
Now David Mellors, who replaces Simon Nicholls, will have to shore up City confidence when he takes up the role no later than 1 January, pending confirmation.
The firm's shares closed up 5.02 per cent to 157.96p per share on the news. Nevertheless, they're still down around 30 per cent year-to-date.
Mellors is currently chief financial officer at FTSE 250-listed science and engineering group QinetiQ, where he played a leading role in its successful transformation.
He studied physics at Oxford and used to work at IT and management consultancy Logica, as well as a string of City names such as miner Rio Tinto and accountancy firm PwC.
John Devaney, chairman of Cobham, said: "David will be a welcome addition to the board and we look forward to working with him. Cobham will benefit from his experience as we move into the next phase of growth."