The Edinburgh-based chartered accountant's appointment follows on from last week's unveiling of Stephen Maguire as director of coaching.
Nigel Holl, chief executive of scottishathletics, said: "We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ian Beattie as our new chairman.
"He's a well-known figure within the sport and we will look to benefit from that profile and his contacts. Ian has held a number of senior positions in the Scottish business community, which will also be helpful."
The new chairman expressed his delight at his appointment and said he could not wait to get started: "I have been involved in sport for many years and, with so much happening over the next two years, it is a wonderful time to be involved in athletics.
"I enjoyed my time as vice-chair of sportscotland, and I am looking forward to bringing the experience I have accrued both there and in business to scottishathletics."
Louise Martin, chair of sportscotland, added: "Ian was highly regarded as vice-chair of sportscotland, and I thank him for the diligence, commitment and aptitude he has displayed throughout his six-year tenure on the board.
"I wish him every success in his new post and I know his previous experience as a director with the governing body and his personal interest in the sport will help him enormously in his new role."