Robertson, who has also been marketing director at B&Q and WH Smith, will take over from Kevin Hawkins, who announced in August that he would be retiring at the end of this year.
Robertson will start his new role on Feb 1.
BRC chairman Sir Geoff Mulcahy said: “We are delighted that someone of Stephen’s calibre is joining the BRC. His range of high-level experience will help us to promote the interests of retailers in the challenging times ahead."
The BRC represents all retailers, from the large multiples to independents.