B&Q ceo replaces outgoing Gerry Murphy with effect from January 28, 2008.
Mr Cheshire was chosen because of his extensive experience of international home improvement retailing and knowledge of the Kingfisher businesses, Kingfisher chairman Peter Jackson said.
"This makes him uniquely placed to lead the business and drive through the changes necessary to improve returns and maximise the value available from the opportunities in our business," he added.
Ian Cheshire, 48, has held a wide variety of roles in the UK and internationally since joining Kingfisher in 1998 including his current position as chief executive of B&Q UK.
Prior to this he was group strategy director and subsequently joined the main board in 2000 as chief executive of Kingfisher's fledgling e-commerce division.
In 2002, having successfully developed the online business for B&Q, Comet and Woolworths, he became ceo, International and Development, with responsibility for all of Kingfisher's retail operations outside of the UK and France.
Ian Cheshire said: "I'm excited by the challenge of leading Kingfisher and believe there is significant potential for a real step change in shareholder value.
"To achieve this, we will move at pace, focusing on the customer, tightening our control of costs and making sure that our cash and capital works more productively."