He will replace Ian Barlow, 69, who resigned in July after a shareholder revolt over executive pay and calls for a management shake-up.
A month earlier, Hosking Partners, which owns an 11% stake in Foxtons, had said that “the time has come for radical board-level change at Foxtons”.
Shareholders had complained about the level of executive pay and the company’s poor share price performance.
Angry investors have included Catalist Partners, an activist investor co-founded by Robin Paterson, who was chief executive of Hamptons International when Rich was chairman.
Josh Ponniah, of Catalist, commented: “The board has responded to issues raised by shareholders. Nigel Rich is well-known to Catalist, having previously worked together with Robin Paterson for eight years as chairman of Hamptons.
“Nigel brings the specific industry expertise and turnaround experience that Catalist believes is necessary to reverse the decline in performance over the past 5 years.
“We look forward to working with Nigel and the Board to accelerate this recovery.”