John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Stuart Hampson said: 'Richard will play a key role in maintaining and developing the strength of our offer to customers. He brings in-depth marketing and expertise in food retail and strong personal leadership skills.'
Hodgson said: 'This is an exciting time for me to join Waitrose, while it expands geographically and strengthens its position. Within the retail trade everyone agrees Waitrose sets the standard when it comes to fresh food and my challenge is to raise the bar even further.'
Hodgson spent 10 years at Asda and was ambient food trading director and brand director before taking up the post of brand and marketing director in 2002.
The post of Waitrose buying director was previously held by Angela Megson, who left the company in January.
Yesterday, Waitrose announced a deal to acquire six stores from Morrisons.