Holdsworth will hold the interim position until Wates finds a new chief executive, allowing Allen to resume his job as finance director.
Holdsworth began his career as a civil engineer before training as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse.
He joined Alfred McAlpine as group financial controller in 1997, before becoming finance director at engineering consultant Whitby Bird in 2000. Three years later he was appointed finance director of the Morrison construction utility specialist when it was part of Anglian Water Group.
Most recently he worked as group finance director for the family-owned,facilities management group, OCS for more than eight years.
James Wates, Chairman of the Wates Group, said: “Rod joins a business on a strong financial footing, which is performing well this year and looking ahead to 2018 with confidence. I look forward to working with him and the whole Executive Committee over the coming months as we continue to fulfill our long-term growth strategy.”