Jackson, 57, has wide experience of the restaurant market both as an operator and as head of publicly quoted companies. He spent 18 years at Whitbread, managing brands such as Beefeater and TGI Friday. In the 1990s, he set-up the Inn Business pub group, which he floated and subsequently sold to Punch Group.
More recently, he chaired Oriental Restaurants, sold last year to Noble Leisure. He remains chairman of Jamies Bars and is a director of De Vere Group, formerly Greenalls.
The appointment comes a week before announcement of City Centre's preliminary results on 28 March.
Jackson said: "City Centre Restaurants have some excellent brands and a solid business that has much potential."
Henry King, the retiring non executive chairman, will remain a non-executive director until July.