Andrew Davies will take up the position and join the board on January 22 instead of April 2 as previously announced.
Carillion chairman Philip Green said: "We are very grateful to the board of Wates Group, and to James Wates, their chairman, for their facilitation of Andrew's earlier appointment.”
Interim chief executive Keith Cochrane is to step down as Davies takes over, but will remain at the company to support the transition.
Chief executive of Wates Group since 2014 and currently non-executive director of Chemring Group, Davies has previously held a series of senior roles with BAE Systems for 28 years and has experience of public sector contracting for projects, support services and construction.
Green added: "As I said when we announced his appointment, Andrew has the ideal combination of commerciality, operational expertise and relevant sector experience to build on the conclusions of the strategic review and to lead the ongoing transformation of the business, and I look forward to his bringing that experience and expertise to Carillion in the New Year."