George Lyon has been appointed chairman of Meat and Livestock Commercial Services (MLCSL).
The commercially trading wholly-owned subsidiary of the AHDB is best known for the independent carcase classification and dressing inspection service it provides to red meat abattoirs across the UK, against which beef, sheep and pig producers are paid deadweight for their stock.
The three-year appoint has taken effect from March 1, 2016.
Mr Lyon became president of NFU Scotland in 1998, and was elected to the European Parliament in 2009. He became an influential member of the Agricultural and Rural Affairs committee, playing a central role in negotiating key aspects of both CAP reform and the EU budget.
He replaces MLCSL board member, Ian Black who had been acting chairman since December 2015.
On his appointment, Mr Lyon said: "MLCSL plays a vital independent role in determining what the farmer is paid by the slaughterhouse for the quality of his deadweight carcase.
"The business faces challenges from continuing rationalisation in the slaughter sector and the need to innovate in the face of competition from technological advances such as VIA (video image analysis).
"The Board and management team are focused on the profitability and the longer term sustainability of the business."
Jane King, chief executive of AHDB and MLCSL board member commented: "George brings strong Board and Chair experience as well as a very strong financial background and a good understanding of the livestock industry.
"His role as an independent member on the AHDB Board will also ensure that MLCSL remains clearly on the AHDB Board agenda."