Watson joins the authority from the neighbouring London Borough of Camden, where he has been director of culture and environment since last year following a stint as assistant director of regeneration and planning.
He replaces Ben Denton, Westminster’s previous executive director of growth, plannning and housing, who left the authority in September to become housebuilder Keepmoat’s group director for strategy and business development.
Westminster City Council chief executive Charlie Parker said Watson’s portfolio would include growth, planning, conservation, heritage, housing, strategic transport and infrastructure, management of the council’s property portfolio and delivery of the council’s economic development strategy on skills, employment and business growth.
"Ed will be a welcome addition to the team with his wealth of experience in local government and supporting growth in the city’s development agenda," he said.
Before working at Camden, Watson was planning programme manager for lobby group the Local Government Association. He has also worked as head of development control at the London Borough of Lambeth. He is due to start at Westminster in January.